Henry Rayhons, a Republican member of the Iowa House of Representatives since 1997, was arrested last Friday on third-degree sexual abuse charges. Rep. Rayhons is accused of having sex with his wife, Donna Rayhons, after the doctors found her Alzheimer’s had made her incapable of giving consent.

Consent for sexual activity is defined as voluntary, positive agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity, and is a universal legal requirement for sexual activity. On March 15 of this year, a care plan meeting was held on behalf of Donna with the staff at her assisted care facility, her doctors, and her family. According to the Iowa District Court of Hancock Country, it was decided at the meeting that based on the severity of her Alzheimer’s, her husband would no longer be legally able to have sexual contact with her.

In May, Donna’s roommate at the nursing home told police she “heard noises" indicating that Rayhons, 78, was having sex with his wife behind the drawn curtain, The Des Moines Register reported. The allegation is backed by security footage showing Rayhons leaving his wife’s room and discarding her undergarments into a laundry bag. He admitted to the claims of sexual contact between him and his wife following her declaration of incompetency, but according to his son, Dale Rayhons, “that could be anything from a hug or a kiss.” Dale went on to call the arrest a “witch hunt,” adding, “This is unbelievable, what’s going on. He’s the kindest person you’d ever meet.”

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, incurable condition that affects both a person’s mind and body. Although the exact specifics of Donna’s condition were not revealed to the media, patients in extremely advanced stages of Alzheimer’s are known to experience a loss of muscle movement and complete inability to “contemplate, plan, rationalize, organize, and interact with their environment.”

Marital or spousal rape is when one spouse has unwanted sexual intercourse obtained by force, threat, or with a spouse unable to give consent. The crime was recognized by Iowa State in 1989, but it took a further four years for the entire United States to treat the act as a crime. Henry Rayhons was arrested for the crime on Friday but was shortly released after posting $10,000 cash as bail.

According to Elizabeth Barnhill, executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, there have been very few Iowans ever arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a spouse. Prosecuting Rayhons will be especially difficult, since his wife has since deceased and will not be able to testify.