Iowa Elderly Accused of Raping Wife With Dementia Acquitted

Iowa Elderly Accused of Raping Wife With Dementia Acquitted
Old Couple Gerard Moonen/

A jury has found former Iowa state legislator Henry Rayhons not guilty of spousal sex abuse. Rayhons was accused of raping his wife, Donna Rayhons, who was suffering from dementia. The case stirred national debate in terms of sexual content when patients suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s are involved.


Kissing and holding hands

Rayhons was emotional upon hearing the not guilty verdict. “The truth finally came out,” he said.

In his own defense on April 17, he said that the only physical contact she had with his wife during the night in question was kissing and holding hands, The Des Moines Register reported. He said that while there were few instances where his wife fondled him at the nursing home, she did so in her own desire. He also said she would always ask him to engage in what she called “play.”

“Donna’s love for me never changed from the day that we got married to the day she passed away. It was always the same. She knew me all the time. She just was a lady who wanted to be loved,” Rayhons said.

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In the whole course of his trial from 2014, he believed his wife’s presence is with him.

“I just know that you have times at night where things approach you, and it was always Donna there with me. It was always Donna,” he said.

Iowa case opens more questions

The jury for Rayhons’ case was not clear whether his wife was able to give consent for the sex or whether the prosecution failed to prove that the sex in question really took place, Mark Kosieradzki said. Kosieradzki is a Minneapolis-based attorney who has handled a number of sexual abuse cases that took place inside nursing homes.

Even if Rayhons was acquitted, “the legal question doesn’t change. It should always be a matter of consent of the patient,” Kosieradzki told The Associated Press.

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