Scandal! Contempt! Hypocrisy! Exclamation point! While there’s no doubt that the “morals and values” crowd has traditionally had problems acting on the strengths of its supposed convictions, or that we here at “Americans Against the Tea Party” are a wee partisan by definition… it’s really kind of hard to know what to make of this one. Maybe it depends on which headline you’re reading.
What happened with Henry Rayhons in the nursing home?
Headline No. 1: “Disgusting Old Republican Molests Woman in Nursing Home!“
On May 23rd of this year, Garner, Iowa police responded to an emergency call from the Concord Care staff in regard to a sexual assault on one of its residents.
When they arrived, they found 78-year-old Iowa Republican lawmaker Henry Rahyons in the room with the woman where Rayhon had raped her. Rayhons was evidently in no hurry to leave; one imagines he held the Cheshire grin of a contented cat.
The victim was another 78-year-old named Donna Lou, a woman mere months away from death who had already been judged by doctors as not being mentally incompetent. She could not legally have consented. This was a fact Rayhons was well aware of — he admitted his guilt, and even provided police with documentation confirming that the assault was in fact premeditated rape. The police state that:
Court documents show that “during an interview with a DCI agent on June 12th, 2014, the defendant admitted to having sexual contact with (victim) and to having a copy of the documentation regarding (victims) inability to give consent due to her lack of cognitive ability.
The Republican rapist Rayhons was taken to jail this Friday, having already announced on August 4th that he was dropping out of the upcoming election. He is currently facing charges of 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse, which he does not deny committing.
Headline No. 2: “Old Man Makes Love to His Dying Wife One Last Time, Despite Legal Repercussions.“
On May 23rd, 78-year-old Iowa Lawmaker Henry Rayhons went to the Concord Care nursing home to visit his wife, Donna Lou Rahyon. This was only the latest of many visits; a regular fixture at the nursing home, Rahyon spent his days in the busy halls of politics, and his nights by his wife’s bedside. He’d have taken her home if he could have, but legal guardianship of the woman had been given over to her daughter Suzan Brunes… for exactly that reason. According to the courts, Henry had problems “following the parameters set by the Concord Care facility.”
Donna Lou was fading away, a fact made quite clear by the doctors, who had issued a notice of zero competence for her. The notice effectively made the independent 78-year-old a ward, with no more right to make her own decisions than an indigent child. She spent much of her time slipping in and out of consciousness; it’s hard to say if Henry believed she could hear his voice most of the time.
On that day in May, Henry and his wife were discovered in a compromising position by a nurse; documents do not say exactly what that was. Information has not yet been released as to whether or not Donna Lou was conscious, or whether she told the nurses that she had given consent. Not that it would have mattered — in the eyes of the law, she was no more than a body that hadn’t yet learned it was dead. As is the case with many of the elderly.
Henry waited in the room for police to accept his punishment.
His daughter, Donna Lou’s legal guardian, has sought no legal action against her father. His son, Dale, issued a press release:
Accusing a spouse of a crime for continuing a relationship with his spouse in a nursing home seems to us to be incredibly illogical and unnatural, as well as incredibly hurtful.
Donna Lou Rayhons passed away last week, and shortly thereafter her grieving husband resigned from his life-long career.
Henry has not expressed regret.
We’ll admit to being a bit partisan here at AATTP… it’s our thing. But not everything in life is a matter of black and white. Or red and blue. Humanity is drawn in shades of gray. In the end, we’re the ones who decide whether or not to read between the headlines…and which headlines we choose to read.