Man accused of keeping HIV status from sex partners likened disclosure rules to 'witch hunt'
The man charged with failing to disclose his HIV status to three sexual partners infected his own wife with the disease 15 years ago, court records say.
And Brian Carlisle reacted first by suing his doctors for failing to diagnose him – a lawsuit he lost – and then told the public he was HIV-positive through media interviews during his years as a marijuana advocate and during a failed run for mayor of Chilliwack.
He has posted at least a dozen videos of him doing marital arts, working out and playing the violin. One video he posted shows a forceful argument he made during a project for a criminology class in 2012 at the University of the Fraser Valley: that people with HIV should not have to disclose their disease to sexual partners.
“Now is the time, I believe, for scientific methodology to evolve our laws and end this present day, I hate to say, witch hunt,” Carlisle says in a video posted to YouTube.
Five years later, the 48-year-old stands accused of three counts of aggravated sexual assault for just that. And since Mission RCMP announced the charges on Thursday, “several” more women have come forward, said Const. James Mason.
“The ongoing investigation has identified several other alleged victims which we believe that Mr. Carlisle could have offended against,” he said.
Several women told CTV News they had been contacted by Carlisle on the dating website Plenty of Fish in the past year. Carlisle has been ordered by the court to stay away from online dating sites, including Plenty of Fish, pending his trial.
Carlisle was released on $5,000 bail Thursday. He couldn’t be found at his Abbotsford home on Friday, and didn’t respond to calls or emails. A man who lived in a trailer next to the home told CTV News that Carlisle was “a nice guy, a reasonable guy.”
A former roommate painted a picture of a smart person who was tortured by the disease.
“Brian is very intelligent. He could have been one of the best lawyers I’ve ever met,” said his former roommate and fellow marijuana activist Tim Felger.
Court documents suggest that Carlisle was infected with HIV sometime in the late 1990s. Felger said when the two were living together in the early 2000s, Carlisle said he didn’t know.
“He suspected it for a couple years, and then he finally goes to the doctor and gets it confirmed,” he said.
That was on July 18, 2002. A day later, his wife was also diagnosed, a civil judgment says, quoting a physician’s report.
“[Carlisle’s wife] almost certainly acquired HIV infection on the basis of unprotected sex with her partner Brian Carlisle, sometime between early 2001 and mid-2002,” the judgement says. “Lack of diagnosis of HIV in Brian may well have contributed to her having unprotected sex with him, and therefore increased her risk of HIV.”
Carlisle represented himself in that case, and later started a consulting company that offered to represent others in court for money. Felger blew the whistle on him in that case, where the B.C. Law Society successfully argued for a $500 fine.
“He always thought everything that happened to him was someone else’s fault,” Felger said.
He ran for mayor in Chilliwack in 2002, calling himself “the people’s candidate,” and telling reporters he had HIV.
“Being an extremely ill person is a blessing,” he said at the time. “It gives me focus every day to live it as the most important day. Every relationship, every job I undertake I do with the most extreme fortitude of anything I put my mind to.”
He ran for city council in Hope, and for school trustee in Chilliwack. He lost in those and other municipal races. A grow-op that he operated with Felger was raided and its pot seized. Years later he claimed in a court case he was broke and on a disability pension.
In 2012, while attending the University of the Fraser Valley, he argued that because medical treatment has progressed to the point that someone living with HIV may have his or her viral load suppressed to the point they are not contagious, it’s time to change the law.
A year later, he volunteered for his professor Darryl Plecas’s winning campaign for MLA. An online CV shows that Carlisle claimed Plecas as a reference.
“I’m disappointed that he’s weaving me into his affairs,” said Plecas, who recalled working on a project with him about marijuana but not about HIV. Plecas said there was “nothing special” about his involvement with Carlisle and that he disagreed with the thesis put forward in the project.
“On the face of it that notion is absurd. If someone’s not disclosing he’s putting people at risk,” Plecas said.