- Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A longtime state lawmaker who was recently acquitted of abusing his dementia-stricken wife visited the Iowa Capitol Thursday.

Henry Rayhons, 78, said he wanted to see former co-workers who had supported him throughout his trial.

A jury last week found Rayhons not guilty of third-degree sexual abuse of his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, who died in August. He was accused of having sex with her at a nursing home in May after being told by staff that she was no longer capable of consenting due to dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Rayhons said he has received letters of support from people around the world, adding that he hoped others would not go through the same kind of ordeal. He said he cherished his wife of seven years in what was a second marriage for both.

“Her love for me grew and grew and grew in the time we were married,” Rayhons said.

He later added: “We just loved each other so dearly.”

During the trial, Rayhons testified in his own defense that on the night in question the couple held hands, prayed and kissed, but had no sexual contact. His defense attorney said a guilty verdict could raise fears that any interaction between spouses could be interpreted as sexual abuse. But prosecutors said a not guilty verdict would put others with dementia at risk of being harmed.

Rayhons served 18 years as a Republican member of the Iowa House. He withdrew from the race for another term shortly before he was charged last year.

Rayhons said he has no plans to run for office again. He said he’ll help his son on the family farm and is singing in the church choir where he met his second wife. Next month, he’ll celebrate his 79th birthday.

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