"Court considers when dementia makes person unable to consent" Associated Press April 08, 2015
DES MOINES — A former state lawmaker accused of raping his wife in a nursing home is forcing an Iowa court to confront a little-discussed question of aging: When is a person who suffers from dementia unable to consent to sex?
The case centers on Henry and Donna Lou Rayhons, both 78, who got married seven years ago in a union that seemed to offer a second chance at love for the two, who had both been widowed. But their domestic routine of church activities and political functions unraveled as Donna’s health began to fail.
Last year, Donna Lou Rayhons was moved into a nursing home because she was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A family conflict developed over how to care for her, culminating in a meeting in which the nursing home staff told her husband that his wife was no longer mentally capable of legally consenting to have sex.
State prosecutors say Henry Rayhons — then a long-serving Republican state representative — ignored that message. On Wednesday, he will stand trial for sexually assaulting his wife, who died in August. The charges were filed days after she died.
Many older couples experience the hardships of illness, mental decline, and living apart, but what happened with the Rayhons has little precedent. Legal analysts could not recall another rape case that happened because a previously consenting spouse could no longer legally acquiesce.
Maybe it's me, but the thought of sex at 78....
UPDATE: Former Iowa lawmaker found not guilty of spousal sex abuse