Source: EBR inmate who claims prison rape left him HIV-positive has tested HIV-negative

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The lawyer who filed a federal lawsuit claiming an 18-year-old contracted HIV after a rape inside the EBR parish prison, admits he has not seen any medical records showing his client actually has the disease.

And, a highly-trusted source familiar with the case tells the WAFB 9NEWS Investigators the inmate tested negative for the disease last month.

RELATED: Federal lawsuit filed for inmate who alleges rape, contraction of HIV while at EBR prison

WAFB has not seen any medical records related to the case and is unable to verify the source's claim.

Attorney Joseph J. Long said Wednesday that his client told him he contracted HIV after being sexually assaulted inside the East Baton Rouge Parish prison and he took him at his word.

Long has described his client as having mild mental health issues.

That HIV test was performed on the inmate last month, seven months after the sexual assault, the source said.

According to the CDC, tests will generally show within 90 days whether a person has been exposed to HIV.

"If we have to amend the lawsuit, we will," Long told WAFB Wednesday.

When asked why he filed a federal lawsuit last week without knowing if his client actually has HIV, Long said he had to file the suit when he did in order to beat the one-year statute of limitations.

However, it appears Long actually had until May 2018 to file the suit.

The lawsuit claims the rape occurred in February 2017. Prison officials acknowledge the rape did happen but say it actually occurred on May 20, 2017.

The victim's cellmate was charged with rape the day after the sexual assault, investigators say.

"We are currently getting medical records to confirm dates of treatment for my client," Long said Wednesday. "If my client's memory of when the rape occurred was mistaken, we will amend accordingly. The plaintiff's mental disabilities, according to his mother, are that he is on disability from SSI with mental issues relating to fetal alcohol syndrome, schizophrenia, and ADHD.  We are getting his mental health records to confirm this information."

"Legally, we cannot confirm or refute claims of testing positive for HIV due to privacy laws," said sheriff's spokesperson Casey-Rayborn Hicks. The sheriff's department is in charge of the EBR parish prison.

Hicks says 224 inmates in the prison self-reported being HIV-positive in 2017.

It's obviously unfortunate and disturbing that this incident occurred at all. The Sheriff, Warden and staff take security of the inmates very seriously. What we do refute are the specific allegations laid out in this lawsuit, many of which are based on inaccurate or false information. In terms of safety at the prison, we fully investigate all incidents that occur and take proactive steps to do whatever is possible to maintain security despite the layout of the facility that exists and that we are charged with staffing.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.