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CLEVELAND -- A judge has ruled that an HIV-positive priest who police say solicited sex from a Cleveland Metroparks ranger last year will face a felony charge should he go to trial.

The attorney for 69-year-old Rev. James McGonegal asked the judge to reconsider a 1996 Ohio law that makes it a third-degree felony for someone with HIV to solicit sex.

The attorney argued McGonegal's HIV status should be ignored because of medical advancements and he should face a third-degree misdemeanor charge.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman ruled Monday that while the Ohio Legislature was motivated by panic and hysteria when it passed the HIV enhancement law, he conceded there were not enough facts available in McGonegal's case to challenge the constitutionality of that law.

McGonegal's attorney could not be immediately reached.

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