The Iowa Attorney General’s office says [Henry] Rayhons had intercourse with his wife when she lacked the mental capacity to consent because she had Alzheimer’s. She died on Aug. 8, four days short of her 79th birthday, of complications from the disease. One week later, Rayhons, 78, was arrested. He pleaded not guilty….By many accounts, Henry and Donna Rayhons were deeply in love. Both their families embraced their marriage. The case has produced no evidence thus far that the couple’s love faded, that Donna failed to recognize her husband or that she asked that he not touch her, said Rayhons’ son Dale Rayhons, a paramedic and the family’s unofficial spokesman.Based on evidence generated so far, state prosecutors are likely to portray Rayhons as a sex-hungry man who took advantage of a sweet, confused woman who didn’t know what month it was, forgot how to eat a hamburger and lost track of her room.
Assistant Attorney General Tyler Buller told jurors in his opening statement that Donna Rayhons’ Alzheimer’s disease had worsened dramatically in the months before last May’s incident. She washed her hands in dirty toilet water, forgot how to eat a hamburger and thought her longtime first husband, Slim, was still alive, the prosecutor said.
Dr. John Brady, who is medical director of Concord Care Center, testified that Donna Rayhons had severe dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. He said any positive reaction to her husband’s affectionate advances could be termed a “primal response,” not a conscious decision to reciprocate.Defense lawyer Joel Yunek pressed the doctor on the matter. “If the testimony is that Donna is happy to see Henry — hugs, smiles, they hold hands, they talk — would that indicate that she is in fact capable at that point of understanding the affection with Henry?” Yunek asked.“No,” Brady answered. He likened the situation to the instinctive response of a baby to affection shown by a mother….Brady testified Monday that Donna Rayhons had declined rapidly in the months before the incident last May 23. He said she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s based on several tests. One was a standard cognitive test, in which patients are asked simple questions, such as what day it is or whether they can repeat back three words that are spoken to them. By last May, Brady said, Donna Rayhons scored a zero on the test. Any score below eight signifies severe impairment, he said.
A person commits sexual abuse in the third degree when the person performs a sex act under any of the following circumstances:1. The act is done by force or against the will of the other person, whether or not the other person is the person’s spouse or is cohabiting with the person.2. The act is between persons who are not at the time cohabiting as husband and wife and if any of the following are true:a. The other person is suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes giving consent.b. The other person is twelve or thirteen years of age….c. The other person is fourteen or fifteen years of age and … [t]he person is four or more years older than the other person….4. The act is performed while the other person is mentally incapacitated, physically incapacitated, or physically helpless.[From the definitions section:]1. “Mentally incapacitated” means that a person is temporarily incapable of apprising or controlling the person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance.2. “Physically helpless” means that a person is unable to communicate an unwillingness to act because the person is unconscious, asleep, or is otherwise physically limited.3. “Physically incapacitated” means that a person has a bodily impairment or handicap that substantially limits the person’s ability to resist or flee.