Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Ontario Man Acquitted for "Sleep Sex" Assault 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Can you spot what's wrong with this story?

33-year old Jan Luedecke, an Ontario landscaper, was acquitted of rape using a most unusual defense: he was asleep at the time. From the Toronto Sun/C-News:
In an unusual case in a Scarborough, Ontario, courtroom, Jan Luedecke was acquitted of sexual assault after a judge ruled he was asleep during the attack -- a disorder known as "sexsomnia." "This is indeed a rare case ... His conduct was not voluntary," said Justice Russell Otter, as Luedecke's victim shook, sobbed and then left the courtroom. The judgment has outraged women's groups. "This is infuriating. It's another case of the courts not taking a woman seriously, adding yet another list to the list of excuses which men use for sexual assault," said Suzanne Jay, of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.

Luedecke, a 33-year-old landscaper, met his victim at a party on July 6, 2003. Both had been drinking. The woman, who can't be named, had fallen asleep on a couch. She woke up to find him having sex with her. She pushed him off, then reported the rape to police. She didn't know Luedecke before that night.

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. ... [I]t was brought on, he said, by alcohol, sleep deprivation and genetics. Luedecke previously had sleep sex with four girlfriends, court heard.
I've read enough about crime and psychology to believe some strange things can happen when someone is asleep - including murder. I would be willing to believe that he was asleep during the incident except for one little detail:
"He only suspected he had had sex after using the bathroom and discovering he was still wearing a condom..."
It strikes me a bit far-fetched that considering the other facts - both he and the victim had met at a party, had drinks, he fell asleep on the couch, only to awake after the the woman pushed him off - that Luedecke managed to put on a condom while he was asleep? There's a lot of people that can't do that properly while they're awake.

Or was he awake when he put on the condom - fell asleep after putting on the condom - then had sex with the woman, suggesting he had the intent to engage in sex beforehand? I suspect that while he may genuinely have a sleep disorder, Luedecke might be using his illness as an excuse to cover the real events of the evening - and only he knows the truth. Something strange is going on here.

MORE: CTV.com: "Man acquitted of sexual assault was asleep"