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Iowa GOP charged with sexually abusing wife

Henry Rayhons
Henry Rayhons
Iowa General Assembly official photo

Iowa State Republican representative Henry Rayhons, 78, was informed in May by medical staff that his wife, Donna, did not have the mental capacity to consent to sexual relations. Donna suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and resided in a nursing home since March. It is alleged Rayhons visited his wife in her semi-private room at the nursing home and engaged in sexual activity eight days after he was informed she could no longer consent.

On May 23, Donna’s roommate told the nursing staff she heard noises after Rayhons pulled the divider curtain closed that would indicate sexual activity. Additionally, surveillance video showed what appeared to be Rayhons discarding an undergarment in a laundry bin as he left his wife’s room.

In June, it is alleged Rayhons admitted to law enforcers regarding the sexual contact with his impaired wife and that he was aware of her cognitive deficit at the time. A spokesperson from Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) told the Des Moines Register it is rare for a spouse to be arrested for marital rape, as in Rayhons'case, and it is even rarer for a conviction.

According to RAINN, marital rape occurs when a spouse forces a partner to engage in sexual activity without consent. The first criminal charges for non-consensual, spousal sexual relations was in the late 1970s as it was considered a ‘wifely duty’ until then. It wasn’t until July 1993 that marital rape became illegal in every state (United States). Albeit, many individuals still believe marital rape is not as serious as a stranger rape and it is one of the least reported crime.

Donna was previously married to Leonard Young (Slim) for 48 years having raised three daughters. Slim died in 2001 after which she married Rayhons in 2007. Donna died this year on Aug. 8 at the Rehabilitation Center of Hampton (Donna Rayhons obituary).

National Sexual Assault Hotline - 800-656-HOPE

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