What do Oprah, the TV show 20/20, Houston crime victim advocate Andy Kahan and Houston lawyer Kim Ogg have in common? They're all involved in the sordid tale of Philippe Padieu, a Dallas-area man who is in prison for knowingly having unprotected sex with dozens of women without telling them he was HIV positive.
In May, a Collin County jury found Padieu, 53, of Frisco guilty of six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Padieu was sentenced to 45 years in prison. The case is being heralded as a landmark in forensic science as it was reportedly the first prosecution in Texas and only the third one ever in the country to use DNA sequencing to put an HIV positive man behind bars for knowingly exposing his partners to the virus that leads to AIDS.
But the story begins more than two years ago, just before police arrested Padieu.
Kahan, who is the world's leading expert on the sale of what he calls "murderabilia," which are collectibles connected to famous killers and crimes, was teaching a workshop on the subject in Frisco to victim advocates. When Padieu was later captured, Kahan says, the Frisco police remembered him and gave him a call because they were concerned that Padieu was going to profit by selling his story to a well-known romance novelist whose name appeared on Padieu's visitation list.
Kahan immediately swung into action, met and talked to Padieu's victims, and put them in touch with Ogg, an attorney, crime-victim advocate and former executive director of Houston's Crime Stoppers.
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Ogg says that police learned that Padieu slept with 29 women, a dozen of which have since tested positive for HIV. Six of the women were involved in the prosecution, says Ogg, who represents five of them. She says she held their hands through the trial process and counseled them free of charge on how to deal with the prosecutors, the health department and the Texas Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund.
Over the course of the case, the women, who had been strangers, became close friends. Ogg is now helping her five clients sell their story to a book publisher or a movie producer to help pay for their skyrocketing medical expenses.
"This is a story of national importance," says Ogg. "These women are the new face of HIV. They're not gay, they're not male. They're of many races, ages ranging from 23 to 65 and were all pretty vulnerable in the dating scene."
So, where does Oprah and the TV program 20/20 come in? Some of Padieu's victims will be appearing on the two shows. Ogg says she helped her clients prep for the 20/20 segment, which will air this Friday on ABC, and that the women will tape Oprah's daytime show on September 23. She says she does not yet know when the Oprah episode will air.