Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sexsomnia

The Toronto Sun reports on a bizarre case in Toronto, where a man has just been acquitted of sexual assault after using the defence that he was asleep when he committed the act.

The incident happened at a party. Both had been drinking, and the woman fell asleep on a sofa. She woke up to find Jan Luedecke having sex with her.

Luedecke claimed he fell asleep on the same couch and woke up when he was thrown to the floor.

He only suspected he had had sex after using the bathroom and discovering he was still wearing a condom, court heard. He confessed to police.

During his trial, sleep expert Dr. Colin Shapiro testified Luedecke had parasomnia -- a disorder with symptoms such as sleepwalking. Shapiro testified Luedecke suffered from sexsomnia, which is sexual behaviour during sleep.


Er...so this guy managed to put on a condom while he was asleep too? Is this starting to seem a little implausible?

Obviously women's groups are outraged by the judgement. Apparently, this guy says he had sex with four previous girlfriends while asleep. So even if this "sexsomnia" is genuine, he knew he suffered from it. Didn't he have a responsibility to make sure it didn't happen again? He says that he has cut down on drinking and is taking pills to stop it happening again. He should be held responsible for not doing that in the first place!

Some doctors think this is genuine, and this defense has been used before, such as in the case of Richard Anderson, who molested little girls. But surely there should be a large onus upon those who use this defence to prove it. Otherwise sexsomnia could become a very easy way for rapists and perverts to evade responsibility for their crimes.

The woman in the Toronto case will appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, she says.

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