The ex-girlfriend of former Major League Baseball star Roberto Alomar alleges in a $15 million lawsuit that Alomar lied to her about his HIV status so they could have unprotected sex, rocking the baseball world days after one of the game's biggest stars admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.
The lawsuit, filed by Ilya Dall on Jan. 30 in Queens Supreme Court in New York City, also alleges that Alomar, 41, should have known he was at risk for HIV after being raped by two Mexican men when he was 17, a claim he allegedly made to Dall in 2005.
Reached by phone today, Dall told ABCNews.com that she could not comment on the lawsuit.
"It's a very sensitive issue with my family," she said.
Messages left for the attorneys of both Dall and Alomar were not immediately returned today. Alomar's lawyer, Charles Bach, told the New York Daily News in today's edition that the lawsuit's claims are "frivolous and baseless," declining to say whether his client is HIV-positive.
The second baseman started his major league career with the San Diego Padres in 1988, playing with the Padres, the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets before retiring in 2005.
Dall claims in the lawsuit that even though she has tested negative for the disease, she now suffers from "AIDS phobia," or a fear of contracting AIDS, a condition that has left her in "constant worry, fear, sleeplessness, anxiety, weight loss" and dread that she or her children may one day test positive for AIDS because of their exposure to Alomar.
Comments on the Baltimore Sun's online baseball forum range from sympathetic to snarky.
"Roberto Alomar was an artist in the field and at the plate," one poster wrote today. "I consider myself lucky to have watched him play in Baltimore. He needs our prayers. Nothing else really matters at this point."
Others were quick to castigate the star.
"If doctors were telling him to get tested and he didn't ... yet he was still having unprotected sex," another poster wrote, "then hell yea, he deserves to be sued for emotional distress!"
The 17-page lawsuit alleges Alomar tested positive for HIV in February 2006 and was found to have full-blows AIDS, nearly a year after doctors began recommending he be tested in the wake of worsening medical problems including cold sores, a yeast infection and a blood disorder.
"In April 2005 ... Roberto Alomar refused to submit to an HIV test, at which time [he] told [Dall] that he was recently tested for HIV/AIDS and was not infected," the lawsuit reads. Alomar "continuously advised [Dall] that he had been tested many times and advised her that, in his words, 'I don't have HIV.'"
Dall, believing Alomar was free of the sexually transmitted disease, continued to have unprotected sex with him until Feb. 6, 2006, the lawsuit alleges, when the couple learned that Alomar had indeed tested positive for HIV.
Weeks later, the lawsuit continues, a doctor advised both Dall and Alomar that Alomar was suffering from full-blown AIDS, confirmed by a spinal tap. At that time, in late February 2006, Alomar was too weak to walk, was foaming at the mouth and had a mass in his chest, according to the lawsuit.
Expert Says Risk to Children 'Vanishingly Small'
Dall, her two children and Alomar continued living together in their Queens home until October 2008, the lawsuit says, althrough she stopped having unprotected sex with Alomar beginning the day of the alleged HIV diagnoses on Feb. 2, 2006.
Dr. David Weber, associate chief of staff at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in infectious diseases, said that while it's understandable for people to be upset after being potentially exposed to HIV, there is no such diagnosis as "AIDS phobia."
Although symptoms can lie dormant for several years, the disease can be picked up by blood tests between four to 12 weeks after possible infection.
While people can develop any kind of phobia, or irrational fear, Weber said, anxiety in most people tested for the disease dissipates after a negative testing.
He also noted that Dall's concern about the possible infection of her children is likely unwarranted.
The lawsuit alleges Dall's two children were put at risk because they were kissed by Alomar and came into contact with toothbrushes and bathroom facilities he had used.
Although not impossible to contract the disease in this way, the chance of infection through toothbrushes and everyday contact is "vanishingly small," he said.
"I think it's very, very unlikely that a child would have acquired HIV from routine household exposures," Weber said.
If Dall and her children have not tested positive for HIV at this point, they likely won't, he added.
As for the lawsuit, many states have laws that make failure to disclose HIV or AIDS status a crime. But Weber said he knew of no laws that stated a person had to get an HIV test upon a doctor's recommendation.
"If you don't know, how can you tell someone?" he asked. "I don't see how he could be faulted for telling her he didn't have HIV when he didn't know."
Born in Puerto Rico, Alomar had 210 career home runs, according to MLB.com.
The rape alleged in the lawsuit occurred in 1985 after a ball game in New Mexico or another southwestern state, according to the suit.