Defendant John Conner III was scheduled to go to trial this week, but instead pled guilty to felony charges of criminal exposure to HIV, statutory rape by an authority figure, and solicitation of a minor.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20 by Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft.
Investigators said Conner, then 26, and a 16-year-old boy met on a social media website in 2015 and had unprotected sex several times in the defendant’s automobile. Soon after that, the teen joined Conner’s dance team, the Infamous Dancerettes, and the relationship continued with the exchange of text messages about their sexual activity and nude photos.
Conner did not tell the teen that he had been diagnosed with HIV in January of 2012. In August of 2016 the teen told his parents he had had sex with his dance coach and thought he should be tested after he heard Conner had HIV. The teen then tested positive for HIV.
Conner also has two similar cases pending with sexual partners ages 17 and 24.
The case is being handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Abby Wallace of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
SVU reviews child-victim cases with Shelby County’s multi-agency Child Protection Investigative Team.