- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

GARNER, Iowa (AP) - Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of a former state lawmaker accused of raping his wife, who prosecutors say was unable to consent to sex because she suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Attorneys began questioning potential jurors for the case against 78-year-old Henry Rayhons, who is charged with third-degree sexual abuse, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1ydCJPF ).

Prosecutors allege Rayhons had sex with his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, in May at a Garner nursing home after staff there told him his wife was no longer mentally capable of consenting. Donna Lou Rayhons died in August, and the charges were filed days after she died.

Experts say determining capacity is challenging, and that physical closeness can be reassuring to many with dementia.

Henry Rayhons, a long-time Republican state representative who decided not to seek re-election for a 10th term in November, could serve up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Of 78 potential jurors, 10 have been dismissed due to conflicts with work, medical appointments or other issues. About 19 were questioned about any other issues that could pose biases in the case.

Jury selection is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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