Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Iowa politician charged with sexual assault after sex with his wife who had Alzheimers
Posted by Lynne Butler
This is a tricky situation, legally speaking. Obviously nobody should have sex without having given consent to it. The questions are more complicated than that. Assuming that a sexual act took place, was Mrs. Rayhons able to consent? Did she know he was her husband (the facts given in the article would suggest that she probably did not)? Does the fact that she had Alzheimer's mean that she can never give consent, on any occasion? Who should decide these things? If she had a Health Care Directive in place, does that person have the right to give or withhold consent?
If you held a Health Care Directive for your parents, how would you feel about making this decision?
Obviously this is a collision between freedom of choice and legal capacity. Any decision made by the courts won't be an easy one, and it will have far-reaching effects. Given the changing demographics and an aging population, this is an issue that will concern tens of thousands of people. It's an American story, but the issue is just as relevant here in Canada.
Click here to read more about this case at www.news.nationalpost.com. I'll be watching for the decision in this case with great interest.
The attached photo of Henry Rayhons appeared in the National Post article, and is credited to Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.