Judge Sentences Two San Francisco Men in Case Involving Harassing Phone Calls Over AIDS, Syphilis Campaigns
A San Francisco judge last week sentenced two men to three years' probation and mandatory mental health counseling for allegedly making harassing phone calls to San Francisco health officials and newspaper reporters in response to city-sponsored AIDS and syphilis campaigns, the Los Angeles Times reports. Michael Petrelis pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges, and David Pasquarelli pleaded no contest to three misdemeanors. Visiting Superior Court Judge Raymond Arata also issued restraining orders that prohibit contact between Petrelis and Pasquarelli and the recipients of the phone calls, including a press officer for the University of California-San Francisco's AIDS Research Institute and Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, director of sexually transmitted disease control for the San Francisco Department of Public Health (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 8/2). Pasquarelli and Petrelis were arrested on Nov. 28, 2001, on charges of harassment, stalking and making criminal threats against public health officials, AIDS researchers and newspaper reporters (California Healthline, 2/13/02). Petrelis and Pasquarelli, who both have been diagnosed with AIDS, said that they agreed to plead no contest in order to end legal proceedings because of their ailing health, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 8/3). Assistant District Attorney Michon Martin said that prosecutors agreed to end the case because the two men agreed to "accept some responsibility for their actions" and agreed to the restraining order, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 8/2). Under terms of the plea agreement, Petrelis and Pasquarelli were sentenced to one year in county jail, which they will be required to serve if they violate probation (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.