A 42-year-old North Carolina AIDS activist, who said his highest priority was talking to kids about the disease, has been busted, along with his roommate for raping a 13-year-old boy.

Ricky Odell Yow, 42, the founder of Global Wheel of Hope, an organization that performs AIDS-HIV education in schools and who just last month was the subject of a heart-rending feature story in the Greensboro News & Record, is now being held on $1.5 million bond after being charged with five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, three counts each of a first-degree sex offense with a child, using a minor to assist in an obscenity, first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, crimes against nature and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Ricky Odell Yow

The crimes took place last year, but just 30 days ago, Yow was telling a local reporter how he shows children as young as 12 photos of his brother, who died of AIDS, and shares his own story.

“When I tell them I have AIDS, they’ll listen,” he explained.

One of his organization’s directors, Samuel Powell, agreed: “It makes them more inclined to listen and ask questions that can sometimes be tough to ask. He can talk to people and get them to respond.”

But, apparently, Yow did more than talk.

He and Douglas Wayne Murphy, his roommate, are both charged with victimizing the boy – potentially, of course, spreading AIDS and a death sentence to the youngster.

Yow was first asked to speak in public schools by Crystal Taylor, then executive director of Alamance Cares, another AIDS “service organization.”

“I said, ‘You’ve got a vital piece of this that I can’t give,” she explained. “He can tell kids, ‘This is not the life you want.’ He can say, ‘I understand.'”

And what a message he brings to kids: “HIV isn’t the easiest thing in the world to get,” he says – as long as you practice safe sex.

Yow told the local paper last month that he is on a mission “to turn what once looked like a roadblock into a way to give back and change the world – or at least his corner of North Carolina.”

“Now I’m living for my future instead of planning for my death,” he said.

Yow’s program is in part funded by Americorps VISTA, a phony, fraudulent federal agency that pays “volunteers” like Yow to do good deeds with tax money extracted from you by force.

He hands out condoms and tells little kids it’s OK to have sex with AIDS victims – presumably including him.

He boasted that he expected to “make contact” with as many as 4,000 people in 2006 – most of them between the ages of 12 and 24.

Yow found out he had AIDS when he was 24. Two years later, he said, he met his “life partner” Murphy, now charged with Yow in the crimes against the boy.

In the house where the 13-year-old boy was allegedly attacked, a plaque hangs on the gate that leads to the back yard: “Peace to all who enter here.”

He talked last month of selling the mobile home he shares with Murphy and buying a brick house nearby with a big yard and two-car garage – all presumably subsidized with your tax dollars.

Yow says AIDS has taken nearly everything from him but his life.

“I think God does everything for a reason,” he says. “I still feel this is something God meant for me to go through. It was his way of making me see things in my life I needed to change.”

It seems Yow was quite a partier. He began drinking heavily – going on reckless binges and sometimes getting in fights.

After the death of his brother from AIDS, Yow says that all changed.

“That’s when I started my 360-degree turn,” he said.

That may sound like a non-sequitur – given that a 360-degree turn keeps you heading in the same direction.

But, of course, if the charges against Yow and his roommate have any merit, he really hasn’t changed directions. What he did was start sharing the “good news” of AIDS with kids.

That’s what government-sponsored “AIDS education” is really all about. It’s OK to have sex – as long as you do it with condoms.

It’s false message. It’s a dangerous message. And clearly it was especially dangerous for at least one 13-year-old.

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