Lawyer now says teen client raped in EBR prison is not HIV positive

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge attorney who made national headlines after claiming his teenage client contracted HIV during a prison rape now acknowledges the teen is actually HIV-negative.

After attorney Joseph J. Long filed suit in federal court last January, WAFB quoted sources as saying the 18-year-old inmate did not actually have HIV.

In an amended lawsuit filed last week, Long acknowledged that is correct.

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

In the amended filed, Long says his client was confused after being given anti-HIV medication in prison and "believed he was infected with the virus." "This turned out to be an incorrect belief."

In January, Long told WAFB 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 admitted last January that he filed the lawsuit without having seen any medicals records that would show his client's HIV status.

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

When asked why he filed a federal lawsuit last January 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.

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