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Navy Vet Who May Have Exposed Thousands To HIV Goes To Prison

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Navy veteran Rocky Allen, who may have exposed thousands of people to HIV, has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for stealing drugs from the hospital he worked at.

Allen was court-martialed by the Navy in 2011 for stealing vials and syringes full of fentanyl, an incredible powerful and dangerous painkiller, the same painkiller he stole from the Swedish Medical Center in January 2015, The Denver Post reports.

Allen, who is infected with HIV, worked at Swedish Medical Center as a surgical technician and may have exposed numerous patients to HIV from Aug. 17, 2015, to Jan. 22, 2016.

As a result, Swedish Medical Center had to inform 2,400 patients to seek testing to see if they had been infected with HIV. This massive scandal cost the hospital $800,000 and caused incredible fear among hospital patients.

He plead guilty in July to two counts of drug theft.

“This man acted as a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena, according to Denver7. “He didn’t care about those people.”

 

Not only did he steal from Swedish, but he also was fired from four other hospitals for the same exact behavior.

“I don’t believe he gives a damn about people,” U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore said, according to The Denver Post.

In one case at Swedish, he stole a syringe full of fentanyl that was about to be used on an old woman going for surgery. He replaced that syringe with a saline solution and walked out. Thankfully, an employee saw him make the switch and told the anesthesiologist.

Part of Allen’s defense consisted of an argument that he suffered from PTSD, due to sexual abuse starting from when was just three. That PTSD, according to Allen, was compounded when he deployed to Afghanistan, where he worked as a surgical tech for the Navy.

“I learned war is horrible,” Allen said. “It was a start to a downward spiral to addiction and depression.”

Allen managed to receive a military disability designation from the Navy because he claimed he suffered from PTSD.

Judge Raymond Moore was ultimately unpersuaded by the PTSD argument, though he did bring down the sentence from 10 years, which the prosecutor was hoping for.

“The picture of you as a PTSD victim who does not know how to ask for help is a false one,” Moore said.

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Jonah Bennett