ROANOKE, AUG. 1 -- Mario "Tony" Leyva and two other Georgia evangelists who used traveling revivals to lure hundreds of boys across the Southeast into homosexual prostitution show no indication of exposure to AIDS, a judge said Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge James Turk, who in ordering the tests had said the victims have a right to know whether the men might have infected them with AIDS, expressed relief when he announced the findings.
Under Turk's order, the test results on Leyva, Rias Edward Morris and Freddie M. Herring are to be made available to the victims and their families. Betty Fitzgerald, the victim-witness coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Roanoke, said she plans to notify as many of the victims as possible.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Montgomery, who prosecuted the three evangelists, requested the AIDS-testing order. She said she made the request after hearing an unconfirmed report that at least one of the ministers might have tested positive for the deadly virus.
After being arrested by federal authorities in Roanoke, the three ministers pleaded guilty in 1988 to charges of taking boys across state lines for homosexual prostitution. They shared the boys among themselves and gave the boys money, meals and a place to stay. Many of the boys were sent to Leyva by parents who thought he would train them for the ministry and let them help set up tent revivals.
Leyva, 44, admitted sexually molesting more than 100 boys, some as young as 8, during his 20 years as a revivalist. He was sentenced to 20 years. Morris, 49, who worked as an organist with Leyva, got 15 years. Herring, 52, who headed Lighthouse Assembly in Douglasville, Ga., received 12 years.
Morris and Herring are at the Federal Correctional Institution in McKean, Pa. Leyva is in the federal prison at Ashland, Ky.
When the three were charged, Leyva had given up his tent ministry. He opened a permanent church called the Tony Leyva Evangelistic Association in Columbus, Ga. It is no longer in operation.