Man Free After Acquittal in Sexual Assault Due to “Sexsomnia.”

A Toronto man is found "not criminally responsible for sexually assaulting a woman because he suffers from sexsomnia . " (Emphasis mine) The assault took place in 2003 during a house party in Toronto, where the woman woke up to Luedecke lying on top of her and engaging in sexual intercourse.

Luedecke had taken "magic mushrooms the day before the party and had consumed 12 beers, two rum-and-Cokes and two vodka drinks" hours prior to the assault. He confessed to the crime, "during which he was wearing a condom." (Emphasis mine)

A lawyer for the Attorney General’s office argued that Luedecke is still a threat, and should undergo psychiatric treatment and "other conditions," but Luedeck’e lawyer and counsel for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health successfully argued for absolute discharge.

Psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Ramshaw  acknowledged that Luedecke experienced "considerable shame and embarrassment" and a person showing such remorse was "less likely to repeat the behaviour." Luedecke has had "sleep sex" with four of his previous girlfriends prior to the assault.

In 2008, the victim said, "I have never been out for revenge. I believe in accountability and consequences for actions, and he has not faced any of them." I wonder how she feels now – having the courage to stand before the board and express these difficulties, with the end result being Luedecke walking away free. No consequences whatsoever. Whether or not this even classifies as a "mental disorder or sleep disorder" is up to the court, and I find it a hard thing to prove. I suppose they have to trust that he "didn’t know what he was doing."

Sometimes, ignorance is power. 

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59 Comments

  1. hellotwin
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m calling bullshit. It sounds to me like he was drugged out of his mind, not asleep. Whether he meant to do it or not, it’s still a non-consensual act. Sounds to me like he should be forced to get treatment for this condition if it is causing these problems…how does an absolute discharge solve the problem? Oh wait, it doesn’t.

  2. ElleStar
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    From what I know about sexsomnia, it’s not about “trusting” that he didn’t know what he was doing. You can prove sexsomnia with tests done in sleep clinics that show sleepwalking and other sleeping disorders that can be proven by looking at brainwaves during sleep. It’s not about taking someone’s word for it, but about trusting the doctors that this person does, indeed, suffer from the disorder and was suffering from it the night of the sexual assault.
    If this wasn’t his first diagnosis of sexsomnia, I think he bears some responsibility for his actions. Sexsomniacs know that they might engage in sex behaviors with those who would resist them but can’t (children in houses with sexsomniacs are also vulnerable). There are steps that sexsomniacs can take to prevent themselves from committing rape or other sexual abuses. If he knew he had it and acted recklessly, then he should be punished. If this was his first diagnosis, then he has to take responsibility to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future. This probably means no more drinking or drugs and also taking medication that helps prevent sexsomnia (and sleep-walking or sleep-eating).
    This is a very sad case and my heart goes out to the victim for what must have been a terrifying experience.

  3. TD
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I’d also note that sexsomnia is rarely this severe. For the majority of cases the most troubling problem is waking up their significant other by ineffectually humping a part of them, or the bed.

  4. eilish
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    The man has assaulted five women. Five. He bears a hell of responsibility for four of them.
    This is disgraceful.

  5. dondo.myopenid.com
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    This judgment is completely irrational.
    Either he bears responsibility for what he did, or he can’t be trusted not to do it again. So either he should go jail for the rape he committed, or he should be institutionalized. Mandatory, long-term counseling for being a menace to society would be comprehensible, albeit unforgivably lenient. Not to put too fine a line on it, a man who “takes magic mushrooms the day before the party and consumes 12 beer, two rum-and-Cokes, and two vodka drinks in the hours leading up to the [rape]” is not capable of taking independent responsibility for his actions. Imagine if the crime instead had been manslaughter — that he had gone for a nighttime “sleepdrive” and killed a child on the streets. There is no possibility he’d suffer no consequences for his actions.
    Unbelievable and inexcusable.

  6. Siu
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Actually, a 1987 case on Ken Parks actually involved manslaughter. He “sleepdrove” for 20 kilometers from his home in Pickering to his wife’s parents’ home in Scarborough, murdered his mother-in-law and attempted to murder his father-in-law.
    Jury found him not guilty because he was “asleep” at the time. He walked away avoiding guilty verdict, and wasn’t sent to a psychiatric hospital because he wasn’t “judged insane.” So yes, he pretty much walked away a free man as well for manslaughter.
    With that said, it is emphasized that these cases ARE severe, and is something most sleepwalkers never have to face (as TD pointed out). I guess what I find amazing is that these people did things in their sleep that actually require thinking (motive): driving 20 kilometers, finding your victims, putting on a condom, etc. Most cases of “parasomnia/sexsomnia” include sleepwalking, sleep-talking, masturbating in sleep or humping a leg. It is rare to have someone perform actions to the extent that these two people have, and I find it most disturbing that there is absolutely no punishment, especially with Luedecke, who seems to have made some irresponsible decisions to consume all that crap aside from being a “sexsomniac.”

  7. Siu
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Aside from that, I agree with what you said. There was definitely more uproar and controversy over the Ken Parks incident, though the court did not alter its decision to let him go free. Therefore, I have little hope that they will take further action towards Luedecke, considering he “only” committed sexual assault. What I find odd is, if he REALLY had “sleep sex” with four of his girlfriends in the past, shouldn’t he have taken some responsible precautions rather than loading himself up with magic mushrooms?

  8. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Yeah, this is BLATANTLY illogical.
    IF he genuinely had no control over what he did –>
    THEN no amount of shame will prevent him from doing it again.
    Case fucking closed.

  9. GREGORYABUTLER10031
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    If this guy raped because he had a sleep disorder (and I’ll take the doctors word on that, has repeatedly raped women in his sleep, is a binge drinker and user of illegal narcotics and his drug and alcohol abuse has caused him to go out and rape in his sleep then he needs to be committed to a locked ward psychiatric facility until such time as he poses no threat to the women of the Province of Ontario.
    The criminal justice system really dropped the ball in this case!

  10. pacifistvigilante
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Combo-lock him to his radiator each night?

  11. Honeybee
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Is this the same case we’ve talked about on here before or a new one?
    Regardless my view hasn’t changed. As horrible as this is, if it’s due to a legitimate mental health condition, then he is not criminally responsible just as with any other crime. A crime requires both mental aspect and a physical aspect and he is missing the mental aspect. I understand the frustration but we can’t throw away our whole criminal justice system for this.
    However, one can’t help but feel there must be a way to restrict his actions. E.g., he should be banned from staying over at someone’s house without informing all guests ahead of time of his condition. Or something like that. Surely there must be something to help prevent this in the future.

  12. pmsrhino
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Do sleeping people often think far enough ahead to grab a condom for their sexsomnia? Is this common? Because I honestly want to know where the condom fits in. I can’t imagine someone who’s pretty much working on minimum brain functions (based on my understanding of sleep walking type things. I am no expert so if I’m wrong please let me know) to go “Oh, hey, I should totally use a condom. Don’t wanna get an STD.” Just doesn’t seem to make sense there. If he’s got a genuine disease then he needs to get help for it so this never happens again. But do legitimate sexsomniacs often suit up before sleep sex?

  13. ElleStar
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Somebody experiencing this degree of sexsomnia will do many of the actions they normally do when they have sex. If this guy normally used a condom, then, yeah, he could have done this in his sleep. It’s not so much working on minimum brain functions, from what I understand, as it is about acting out having sex in similar ways they normally do.
    Kind of like how sleep eaters get plates and forks and prepare meals, eat them, and are still genuinely asleep.

  14. Athenia
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I guess he normally doesn’t get a “yes” from his partners in real life then perhaps….

  15. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The reason these sleep walker cases result in acquittal is there there is no thinking on the part of the accused. Therefore no motive. No voluntary action of any kind.
    The only way you can argue that the things that occur are their fault, is if they have had sufficient warning that this type of thing could happen, and they could have reasonably taken actions to prevent it.
    The actions they are performing are things that are familiar to them through repetition. In the case of Ken Park, he had driven to his parents in law’s place many times. Similarly putting on a condom before sex is probably an automatic action for this person.
    In the Park case the accusation was manslaughter, thus the prosecution had to show that he had a reasonable expectation that his actions would result in someone’s death (and could have taken actions to prevent it). He hadn’t had an instance similar to that which resulted in the manslaughter charges.
    When you are asleep you have no conscious control of your body. And yet as a sleep walker people have been know to perform complex actions. People have been reported taking midnight snacks, or even cooking something on the stove. Can you imagine going to sleep in your bed only to wake up in the kitchen with your sleeve on fire. It’s a pretty scary thought.
    I don’t know much about sexomnia. I do know that care should be taken in trying to interrupt a sleep walker, without knowing it they become irritable and sometimes violent in that situation and can be a danger to others. This is what happened in the Ken Park case. What convinced the jury was testimony from a prosecution witness that Park was making a guttural grunting as he attacked the victim. Sleep walkers have little control over their speech, they don’t vocalise properly. Unbeknownst to the witness, she had just described a definitive symptom of sleep walking previously described by a specialist to the jury.
    I’m interested by the description of “sex sleep.” To me this reads as though he was asleep rather than his girlfriends being asleep. If they realised that he was asleep and continued, then technically they are guilty of rape since he could not have consented to have sex whilst unconscious. If that was indeed the case, he may have had no expectation that he would engage in such activity with someone who was themselves asleep and that he didn’t know. I would guess this is why he was acquitted.

  16. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    It is the conscious mind that interprets feedback. If he is asleep then his conscious mind isn’t working. It is only pattern physical behaviour that is replicated by sleep walkers.
    People have been found to cook in their kitchens during sleep walking episodes. If the stove is disabled they go through the same actions, despite the fact there is no heat. Ordinarily a person would stop if the heat isn’t working.

  17. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    You’re a neuroscience expert are you? You can tell me what affects (or not) intense emotions have on the chemical balances within the brain?
    Without knowing a great deal about what causes sleep walking like behaviour in the first place, I don’t think it is unreasonable to suggest that a negative mental association triggered by an intense emotional experience might be enough to alter the patterns of the unconscious mind.
    If the experts say they have data to back this up then I’m willing to take their word for it.

  18. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Kandela, are you kidding me?
    If he has assaulted five women, I’m not willing to take it on faith fromanyonethat shame will alter his unconscious mind. There is absolutely no reason not to provide more discipline than that, even if it’s psychiatric and not in the (cough) penal system. If I were him, I would gladly take any help that was offered, even if I didn’t feel responsible for raping women in my sleep, because you know what, I did it anyway, and I hurt those women anyway, and that’s good enough reason to face consequences for me.

  19. Brianna G
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    It needs to be immediately determined if this is a valid medical complaint.
    And if it is, there needs to be a new crime legislated that is akin to manslaughter for rape— ie, rape because of negligence. It wouldn’t be used often, but it would cover these cases at least. If he genuinely has a condition that causes him to rape, then the first time if he has no diagnosis he should get off with a warning, but after that he has a responsibility to stay out of these situations. Using drugs, falling asleep in the same room as another person, or even falling asleep in the same HOUSE as another person without warning them to lock their bedroom doors are all examples of gross negligence that led to harm.

  20. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Have you read more background to the story somewhere else? If so please provide the link.
    All the article says is that he engaged in “sex sleep” on 4 occasions with girlfriends. To me this reads as though he was asleep but that his partners were willing. How did you come to the conclusion that he raped 4 other women?
    As I posted above. If the girlfriends were aware or became aware that he was asleep during intercourse then technically they raped him. Since, if he is asleep he cannot consent to sex.
    If this had only occurred with partners who were awake and willing in the past, he could reasonably be said to have had no expectation that such a thing could occur with someone unconscious that he didn’t know.
    And if you think about it both parties were unconscious. That’s what being asleep is.
    We have debated on this site a couple of times in the last month whether someone can consent to sex when they are drunk. There were differing points of view there, but there was a consensus that if somebody was unconscious that they should certainly not be taken advantage of. You could go as far as to argue that the man in this case had a reasonable expectation that others at the party would not take advantage of him.
    If someone is incapable of conscious thought, why should it make a difference if their body carries out physical actions?
    Rape requires intent, there can be no intent if you are asleep. A stronger case could be made for wilful endangerment, but again he may have had a reasonable expectation that this type of thing couldn’t occur at a party with many other people present.
    It is a terrible situation, where both parties have suffered emotionally, but it would seem no crime was committed.

  21. Emily H.
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Jesus Christ. Our entire legal system is based around the concept that for a crime to occur, there must be intent. A criminal’s intent often determines what crime they’re charged with — for instance, intent is what marks the difference between murder and manslaughter. If someone is asleep and has no consciousness or awareness of the crime they’re committing, there IS no crime. That’s true of murder, rape and everything else. It’s a rational, humane aspect of our legal system, and the fact that it was applied in this case isn’t worthy of outrage.
    A lot of commenters are acting skeptical of the sexsomnia diagnosis, because it sounds so weird and it’s hard to believe someone could put on a condom while asleep. But a lot of psychiatric/sleep disorders have bizarre symptoms that wouldn’t sound plausible to the average person — pick up a book by Alexander Sachs, you’ll hear about stuff that’s even more bizarre than sleep sex. Also, it’s my understanding that sleeping people can perform very complex actions, as long as it’s something they’re in the habit of doing. Courts shouldn’t base their judgments of symptoms on what sounds “weird” or implausible to the layperson, but seek more informed opinions.
    Lastly: Read the article. This sleep-assault took place in 2003, and there hasn’t been a repeat since. It states that “In his report, Dr. Percy Wright wrote that Luedecke had taken steps to control his sexsomnia, including reducing his stress, limiting his alcohol consumption to two drinks a week or less, and sleeping ‘safely’ with no access to women who aren’t his partner.” That’s probably why the court determined he’s not a threat anymore. Dr. Rimshaw’s statement about his “shame” is a bit confusing, but probably means she believes his shame & guilt will prompt him to keep controlling his behavior in this way.

  22. Lexicon
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    He assaulted four girlfriends before this. He knew full well that he had a problem.

  23. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Hahaha. You’re profoundly misunderstanding me. I just said in the previous post that I don’t have any vested interest in their calling what he did a crime. I just think that the opposite extreme of asking him to face no repercussions whatsoever, not even psychological treatment for a potentially dangerous condition (for both himself and others), is no better. Extremism in any form is to be avoided.
    As are wanton assumptions about the moral character of strangers on the internet.

  24. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Again, from the first article:

    “A lawyer for the Attorney General’s office argued that Luedecke remains a threat and wanted him to meet with a psychiatrist at least two times a year and limit his drinking to one alcoholic drink a day, among other conditions.”

    And:

    “It was obvious to all members of the board that the victim is still experiencing tremendous difficulties arising from the events,” it said.

    The shame that he experiences is legitimate and should be respected. But so should the tremendous confusion and emotional challenges that can arise from having been sexually victimized, whether the perpetrator was conscious, intentful, or otherwise.

  25. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Meeting with a psychiatrist twice a year, not binge-drinking, and (presumably) not taking magic mushrooms doesn’t sound like too harsh of an accountability regiment to me.

  26. eilish
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh. My. God.
    “they raped him” – victim-blaming
    “they were willing” – nice assumption, but submission is not consent
    “rape requires intent”- accidental rape, anyone?
    “there was no crime here” – yes there was. A woman was raped.
    This is rape apology.
    Yes, the man was asleep. But he knew that he had the disorder, and it is only NOW he is taking action. Too late for the woman he raped.

  27. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I think I agree with this.

  28. pmsrhino
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the info. I guess it makes sense that people in sleeping episodes would just default to what they normally do in that situation. Still weird to me, though. Was he at his house? I would think it hard to find condoms in a strange house like that unless he had them on him already. I dunno, the whole thing just seems horribly weird with the condom and the mushrooms and the massive amounts of alcohol. Like there really may be more at play than just the sexsomnia. *shrug* But at least I have learned something new today about sleep walking and such. :)

  29. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Way to take what I said out of context.

  30. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I too would be keen to take help offered. Yet, presumably Dr Percy Wright who testified is satisfied with the steps he is taking, otherwise the court wouldn’t have taken the decision they did.

  31. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Firstly I’m sure there have been repercussions, they just haven’t been metered out by the law.
    Secondly, what repercussions would you suggest be metered out to someone who unexpectedly loses their footing and falls from a high pathway onto someone else, injuring them? Should they be required to take balance lessons? Should they pay compensation or go to gaol?
    Of course, if it were me I’d apologise and try to help if I could. But beyond this what action would you recommend in such a case, as fundamentally this is a very similar situation?

  32. kandela
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I’m ticked off now.
    Oh. My. God.
    “they raped him” – victim-blaming
    I said IF they were willing then TECHNICALLY…
    “they were willing” – nice assumption, but submission is not consent
    Once again you left off the IF. And in fact it is you who is making the assumption. The article says “sleep sex” not ‘sleep rape,’ an instance of submission could not have been described as sex. Why are you assuming that the people involved have used the wrong terminology?
    Perhaps we are both incorrect in our assumptions. Perhaps “sleep sex” doesn’t mean intercourse at all but simply going through the motions next to someone or in the same bed, or whatever.
    “rape requires intent”- accidental rape, anyone?
    Rape is a legal term. It is defined by the law. The law says intent has to be present for rape to take place. Therefore by definition there is no such thing as accidental rape.
    “there was no crime here” – yes there was. A woman was raped.
    A woman was subjected to unwanted sexual penetration. It was horrible my heart goes out to her. A man was also involved in an unwanted sexual interaction, the experience has been traumatic for him.
    But like in the Ken Parks case, there was no intent to commit a crime, and therefore no crime. A jury, having all the facts, has found the accused not guilty.
    This is rape apology.
    No it isn’t. What your post is, is deliberately inflammatory. You left off all the conditional statements I made, took phrases out of context and constructed them how you saw fit.
    Yes, the man was asleep. But he knew that he had the disorder, and it is only NOW he is taking action. Too late for the woman he raped.
    Since we can’t be sure what “sleep sex” actually means saying that he knew he had the disorder and is therefore responsible for rape is a stretch. As TD pointed out above, what happened here was extreme. We’ve basically got one other case to compare it to (Ken Parks). If the disorder hadn’t resulted in anyone else suffering distress in the past (and we’re not told it did, we’re not even told exactly what this “sleep sex” is) then how are we to assert that he should have seen this coming?

  33. ElleStar
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    The article said he had “sleep sex” with his girlfriends, not that he assaulted them or that they said no to his advances.
    The case of sexsomnia that I know of was of a woman who had the disorder. She woke up and was very upset to find out that an ex boyfriend had had sex with her. But then she found out that she actually initiated the sex and fully participated in it. I don’t think that she raped her ex boyfriend, either.

  34. daytrippinariel
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    He was on magic mushrooms and drank a large amount of alcohol. Whether or not he has sexosomia I am willing to bet the consumption of MIND ALTERING HALLUCINOGENIC mushrooms plus alcohol would have a lot with altering his decision making and therefore should be responsible. Plus, doesn’t he at least get in trouble for the mushrooms? They aren’t legal.

  35. electrictoaster
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    “The article says “sleep sex” not ‘sleep rape,’ an instance of submission could not have been described as sex”
    You might not describe rape as sex, but it is very commonplace in the media.
    Newsweek: “In 1977, Roman Polanski had sex with a 13-year-old.”
    Florida Today: “Woman forced to have sex with son.”
    Edmonton Sun: “Nawaz had his pants off and was having sex with the unconscious [teen].”
    Given the media’s affection for using the word “sex” in inappropriate places, the article can be read either way. Personally, I find it rather doubtful that all of his former girlfriends consented every time he had ‘sleep sex’ with them, and that he never, ever found out about it.

  36. ElleStar
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    You can’t make that assumption. “Forced sex,” while terrible and inaccurate wording (I agree with you that rape is not sex in any way) still does have allusions to rape. The other articles also contain information as to why the “sex” was a crime (age or level of consciousness of the victim). “Forced sex” was not used in the article, nor were any qualifiers as to if the sex was inappropriate. Also, we don’t know how many times with each girlfriend he had sleep sex or to what extent (frottage? oral? PIV?).
    If any of the girlfriends said they were not willing and did not consent to the “sleep sex,” I’d believe them. We still don’t have that information, though, and I’m unwilling to interpret any time an article has the word “sex,” they mean rape.

  37. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Wait a second. What is it that you’re actually in disagreement about me with?
    Are you disputing my knowledge of the facts of the case, or is there an ethical disagreement? As you so insisted to in defending yourself, I said IF he sexually assaulted five women, THEN he should take steps to prevent this from happening again. I don’t know whether or not he did.
    If you’re simply trying to inform me about facts you think I have missed, this is quite an unnecessarily antagonistic way to do so. And if you think we have a sincere ethical disagreement, I really don’t know what it is.
    I’m pretty sure you’ve yelled at me before on Feministing, about an unrelated thing.
    I hope that whatever is causing you to feel so angry in the real world that you need to direct it towards me, a total stranger, works itself out.
    Also, yes, if I had a pathology, psychological, neurological or otherwise, that caused me to be prone to, say, seizures during which I blacked out and started punching people in the face, I would try to take steps to avoid that end result. There’s no reason for there not to be a court mandate that he take care of the problem that is causing him to accidentally assault women, IF AND ONLY IF he assaults them!
    This argument is so ridiculous that I am done participating in it.

  38. Brianna G
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    The point is, the crime of manslaughter is still a crime, despite lack of intent– it only requires negligence. Now, Ken Parks, who murdered his family in his sleep, had no reason to know or suspect he was capable of such things, so he was not negligent to sleep like any normal person. But this case is different. He was diagnosed with sexsomnia before the rape.
    That’s the thing you don’t seem to get– it may not have happened SINCE, but it happened four times BEFORE. He KNEW he had the diagnosis and it took five rapes and a court case to alter his behavior? I don’t think he’s malicious, but he’s definitely negligent.
    If a man killed five separate times, all in his sleep, knew each time afterwards, and still did not lock himself in his room, post guards, put in alarms to wake him up, ANYTHING to prevent it, wouldn’t that be incredibly negligent? Wouldn’t he fit the crime of manslaughter?
    We don’t have a rape version of manslaughter because no one believed it was possible to unintentionally rape someone; clearly, it is. Thus, we need legislation with lesser sentences that for intentional conscious rape, but that still clearly acknowledge that a) a victim was harmed due to the actions, and b) the individual was negligent to not take precautions.

  39. Lexicon
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I apologize for the poor word choice in my comment (though I have to say we have all seen countless examples where an assault is referred to as some kind of sex.
    The point I meant to make is that he knew full well he had a problem, and that the women he fell asleep around were at high risk for being raped by him. It was a consistent pattern. He wasn’t in the dark about this.
    Not only did he knew that by sleeping around women he was putting them in real danger of rape, he consciously engaged in unbelievably irresponsible behavior which skyrocketed the chances of a rape actually occurring (falling asleep at a house party after 12 beers, two rum-and-Cokes, and two vodka drinks after a day of magic mushrooms while being overworked, stressed and sleep-deprived??!!!). I adamantly believe he holds some responsibility for what happened, and in my opinion, to walk off without any punishment is unjust.
    If a person has a good chance of having a seizure while driving, she can’t legally drive and will be punished for taking the wheel. She may not intend to get in a crash, but she behaved in a way that she knew held a high risk of killing someone else or herself. This man did not intend to rape a woman, but he failed to take into serious consideration the real danger he FULL WELL KNEW he presented to the women around him, and behaved in a way that directly increased the chance of him raping someone, and he needs to be responsible for that.

  40. TD
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    The question is to the degree. Most of these conditions do not approach anywhere near this level. A person who knows that they are prone to sleepwalking aimlessly around their apartment does not have cause to believe that they might end up committing murder.

  41. Lexicon
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    Ok, I completely agree with you that he should have gotten in trouble, and it is because he behaved in a way that he full well know put that woman at risk of being raped by him. I am upset that he didn’t receive ANY kind of punishment for something he bares at least partial responsibility for. I wrote a lot about it previously.
    However, I do want to note that I think magic mushrooms are generally a very positive thing for the majority of the people who have taken them. I think alcohol is a much scarier mind-altering drug, and contributes a thousand times more to general stupidity and serious crime. Doing mushrooms shouldn’t be a crime.
    However, doing mushrooms, followed by binge drinking, followed by falling asleep at a house party with women, all the while stressed, overworked and sleep-deprived- ALL factors which he knows puts this woman at high risk of being raped- yes, he should be held responsible for this.

  42. kandela
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    What I’m in disagreement about with you is what role shame might play on the unconscious mind. If this were a case where the perpetrator was in control of their actions and there was a pattern of repetition I would be very hesitant to conclude that the regime of treatment that has been undertaken would be sufficient.
    However, that’s not the case here. The man in question has undergone extensive testing, taken steps indicated etc. And the doctor says he should be fine.
    I guess what I find hardest to reconcile in your post though is the way it begins by postulating that he assaulted 4 other women, as that’s not what the article says. I feel like we are discussing two different situations. If you had written something more like if… then… else…, I probably wouldn’t have disagreed.
    I don’t have a personal problem with you. I can’t remember yelling at you. Actually, I rarely take note of who I’m actually replying to. I prefer to comment/respond on the basis of content alone.

  43. Pantheon
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I read “sleep sex” to mean both of them were asleep, at least at first. But you’re right, it isn’t clear from how its stated.
    My general opinion is that if he honestly did this in his sleep, then he shouldn’t be put in prison for rape, but there should still be consequences. He should be required to take certain precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and if that isn’t possible, he should be in a secure mental facility while they try to figure out how to do it. If he already knew that this kind of thing was a possibility, then he should still be held liable in some way, just like a person who lets their dog off a leash knowing they have bitten people before.
    Someone with this condition shouldn’t be doing drugs and sleeping at a house party, and they just shouldn’t be sleeping with other people or kids in a house in general without warning them and taking precautions.
    I wonder if he had any idea that this kind of thing could happen with someone he wasn’t already sharing a bed with. A lot of it hinges on his particular history and what he knew about this condition (assuming its all true).

  44. Pantheon
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    In this case, the guy knew he was prone to “having sleep sex” with his girlfriends. A lot depends on what exactly that means. Did it only happen when they were awake enough to respond and be into it? Did he think it could only happen with someone he was already sleeping with? It seems like he should have at least realized it was a risk with other women nearby, even if he had never done it to anyone he wasn’t dating before. I think it sounds like he was negligent in failing to do anything about that risk.
    Question: What about someone who has PTSD and may be prone to violence if they are startled or if someone wakes them up unexpectedly? (Common scenario with war veterans on TV, at least). If they were woken up out of a nightmare and hurt someone without really meaning to, would they be found guilty?

  45. ElleStar
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I can agree with this.
    While I’m not sure about the extent to which the guy knew about his sexsomnia, if he DID have some basic understanding, he should have done more research, seen how dangerous it could get, and take precautionary steps.

  46. kandela
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    That all seems reasonable.

  47. TD
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I’d say not only does it depend on the circumstances under which it occurred with his girlfriends, but whether it even amounted to what most people would consider sex. Sleep sex is used to describe someone humping the bed or touching themselves in their sleep. To expect that to manifest into actual sex, much less sex with someone not in the same bed as you would be a huge leap in its manifestation. Similar to somnambulism developing from getting oneself a sandwich to driving to somone’s house and committing murder.

  48. rustyspoons
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s a load of bullshit. If he’s that out of control of himself (which I don’t even believe, but let’s pretend he is) he should STILL be locked away then to prevent him from raping.

  49. daytrippinariel
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m not arguing for or against the legalization of mushrooms.
    I think they should be legalized. However, I disagree that they are generally a positive experience for most people. As a person who has taken many trips and witnessed many others take trips they aren’t always a positive thing. People have bad trips, even in positive, safe, environments with people they trust to take care of them. Some people cannot handle them. They have a predisposition to anxiety or paranoia. They can’t let themselves be out of control. Some people get very sick. People do them in stupid situations or with other substances. Yes, it can be a great time and a fun experience. But, not always, and based on my experiences I wouldn’t say it is infrequent for people to have a really bad time when taking mushrooms.
    Mushrooms can also be very dangerous if someone decides to drive or go off by themselves. If they were legalized it would need to be done carefully and with regulations. It’s not a light drug and should not be treated so. The way you perceive the world around you on mushrooms is significantly altered.
    Either way, the bottom line is they are not legal and he should technically get in trouble, whether or not I morally believe mushrooms should be legal, and he didn’t which shows that he is getting off the hook. He really should be getting in trouble for what you said, the lack of care plus the known history sexsomnia. I’m just pointing out that he didn’t get in trouble for any of his illegal activity.

  50. cattrack2
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    In my own experience ‘sleep sex’ is real. My partner & I do it from time to time, and its never predictable. In fact if it weren’t for the obvious ‘evidence’ in the morning we wouldn’t realize we’d had sex at all. If people can have wet dreams people can have sleep sex.
    I guess the real question is does the same rationale of insanity apply or not? That is, insanity is a defense because the person does not realize right from wrong. Sleepwalking is more extreme than even that; they literally are unaware of doing anything.

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