OSHKOSH, WIS., DEC. 19 -- A prosecutor today declined to retry a man accused of raping a woman who doctors say has 46 personalities, bringing the case to an abrupt close.
Winnebago County Prosecutor Joseph Paulus filed a motion to dismiss the case against unemployed supermarket worker Mark Peterson, saying another trial could worsen the victim's fragile mental condition.
Circuit Court Judge Robert Hawley agreed to dismiss the sexual assault charge two days after setting aside last month's guilty verdict on grounds that the defense's psychiatrist was not allowed to examine the woman, referred to in news articles as "Sarah."
Legal and mental health experts said the week-long trial was unprecedented because it was the first time a person suffering from multiple personality disorder was allowed to testify as the victim of a crime.
The 27-year-old Sarah delivered three hours of testimony at the trial in the voices of six of her 46 separate "personality states" about meeting Peterson and the events leading up to and after the morning encounter in the front seat of his car.
Peterson, 29 and married, had been convicted of manipulating Sarah's various personalities under a state law that protects mentally ill people because they are unable to appraise their own conduct. He had faced up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Peterson said during the trial he was unaware of Sarah's condition and received her consent to have sex with her.