Two S.F. AIDS activists arrested for threatening, stalking newspapers

The Associated Press
Thursday November 29, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — Police arrested two AIDS activists Wednesday for allegedly stalking and threatening newspaper reporters and Public Health Department workers. 

David Pasquarelli, 34, and Michael Petrelis, 42, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, stalking, terrorist threats and annoying electronic communications, according to San Francisco police. 

Newspaper employees said the men made dozens of obscene and threatening phone calls earlier this month to their homes and at work. A bomb threat also was made to the San Francisco Chronicle’s offices. 

Judge James Robertson II issued a temporary restraining order against Pasquarelli and Petrelis two weeks ago after they allegedly made threatening telephone calls to editors and reporters at the Chronicle. 

The two were taken into custody Wednesday after appearing in court to respond to that temporary restraining order. 

In addition to the other charges, police Lt. Henry Hunter said Pasquarelli was charged with violating the restraining order. 

Lawyers for the Chronicle said the activists apparently were angry about two stories published last month in the newspaper. 

One was based on a study by the University of California at San Francisco documenting the increase in unsafe sex practices among gay men in San Francisco. The other focused on statistics from the city’s Department of Public Health showing increases in the rates of syphilis among the city’s gay and bisexual men. 

Police say the men also threatened reporters at the Bay Area Reporter and workers at the health department. 

Pasquarelli is a member of the AIDS dissident group ACT UP-San Francisco, which repeatedly has clashed with mainstream AIDS organizations over its belief that HIV does not cause AIDS.