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FAMILY STANDS BY WILLIAMS, FAULTS PARTNERS

The women of Nushawn Williams' family expressed unwavering support for him Thursday and placed much of the blame for the HIV outbreak he is accused of causing on his female partners.

"We stand by him until we die. That's our family," said Diane Fields of Jamestown, Williams' cousin. "The parents should have taught them, the girls, to keep their legs closed or use condoms."

Denise Williams, Williams' mother, urged authorities to find the individual who infected her son with the virus.

"Don't blame my child. Find the man who gave it to my son," Ms. Williams said several times in an interview in New York.

Eleanor McCrae, 58, Williams' grandmother, who raised him and his mother, said the family has sympathy for the HIV victims and the crisis the HIV outbreak has created in Chautauqua County, but she is extremely upset because she said her words have been twisted and fabricated by the media.

"I'm sorry for what my grandson did, and I am glad he's locked up so that he can't hurt no one else," she said.

She urged reporters not to misinterpret her words as dislike for her grandson, claiming that a New York City newspaper has wrongly characterized her comments about Williams.

The three women spoke during an emotional interview Thursday evening in the basement of a relative's home in Crown Heights.

Ms. McCrae's sister, Delores McCrae, in an earlier interview Thursday, described the last four days as traumatic for the family, following Monday's announcement by authorities that Williams had allegedly infected at least 10 Chautauqua County young women.

"If my great-nephew did something wrong, he's got to pay the price," she said. "But we're not gutter people. We all grew up in the church."

"If he gave that virus to somebody, it hurts, but he got it from somebody," she added.

The family believes he got the HIV virus from a homosexual working in a youth detention facility in the New York City area who had befriended Williams during the young man's incarceration there about three years ago.

"The detention worker took a couple boys in. He had the germ and passed the virus on to the boys," Ms. Fields said.

How could the family could be so certain that Williams got the virus from the detention worker?

"Nushawn told me this guy gave him the virus," Ms. Fields responded.

Ms. Fields, 43, arrived in New York Thursday for a taping of the Montel Williams television talk show, which will air at 4 p.m. Monday on NBC Channel 2.

She said she found out her cousin was infected with the HIV virus when the Chautauqua County Health Department in September 1996 sent several letters to her home, where Williams had lived.

"I got the letters to my house from the Health Department. They said they were going to come here with a search warrant," Ms. Fields said. "The letters kept coming, and Jo Jo (Nushawn Williams) wasn't living with me, so I opened them up. That's how I learned."

Ms. Fields said her cousin does not bear the entire blame."There is only one way not to get pregnant, never have sex on the first date and never see the same guy twice," she said.

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