Jury Acquits Man Accused of Raping Wife With Alzheimer's

Henry Rayhons, 78, gets not-guilty verdict in Iowa case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2015 5:17 PM CDT
Jury Acquits Man Accused of Raping Wife With Alzheimer's
Former Iowa state legislator Henry Rayhons, right, hugs daughter Sara Abbas after hearing the verdict in Garner, Iowa.   (Arian Schuessler/The Globe Gazette via AP)

A rough trial in Iowa has ended with a not-guilty verdict. Jurors decided not to convict a 78-year-old man accused of raping his wife in a nursing home while she was incapacitated by Alzheimer's. "The truth finally came out," former state lawmaker Henry Rayhons tells the Des Moines Register. He was arrested in August, just a week after his wife of seven years, Donna, died of Alzheimer's complications. The jury did not explain why it reached the not-guilty verdict, notes Bloomberg, which points out that this type of case could become more common given the expanding 65-and-older population in the US.

But the Register reports that defense lawyers raised fundamental doubts about his guilt, including whether Rayhons even had sex with his wife in the facility. He denies it, and while her 86-year-old roommate testified that she heard noises from behind a curtain, she couldn't say whether they were sexual noises. It's not clear who initiated the complaint, but authorities called it rape because staffers had told Rayhons his wife could no longer consent. (Read more Alzheimer's disease stories.)

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