Sleepwalking – The new rape defense

November 25, 2008


Pink is the new black and sleepwalking is the new “she asked for it.”

Jane McKenna, 33-year-old mother of two was raped while sleeping in her own home by a family friend, Jason Jeal, who claimed to be sleepwalking at the time of the incident.  37-year-old Jeal was tried and acquitted for the crime – although he had no medical history of sleepwalking.

Mr Jeal, a father of three who has since separated from his wife, yesterday maintained he did not know what he was doing at the time of the attack.

Speaking outside his home in Portsmouth, the former member of Portchester Cricket Club said: ‘I did not use sleepwalking in my defence as I did not have any doctor’s evidence or anything to back that up,’ he said. ‘With me, sleepwalking normally comes on through drink. People have told me I’ve done it before.’

So-called ‘sexsomnia’, in which sufferers carry out indecent acts in their sleep, is considered to be a form of automatism, a condition which has been used as a defence across criminal law.

From “How could the man who raped me be cleared because he was sleepwalking
By Olinka Koster
MailOnline, November 15, 2008


What in the bloody hell?  This happened in the UK and there is some tiny part of me happy for proof that things are as fucked up and crazy there – but just a very tiny part.  Sexsomnia, a form of automatism, is a valid legal defense in the UK and Mr. Jeal’s acquittal was not unique. There have been other, similar, cases:

Last year, RAF mechanic Kenneth Ecott, 26, was acquitted after he pleaded that he was sleepwalking when he had sex with a 15-year-old girl.  Bournemouth Crown Court heard he had sexsomnia.

James Bilton, 22, was also cleared by a jury of three counts of rape in 2005. The 22-year-old victim said she woke to find Mr Bilton assaulting her, but he said he could not remember the incident at his flat in York.


Seriously?  You can be cleared on a rape charge because you were asleep and didn’t know you were doing it?  How nice for rapists.  Very convenient.  If you can find any plausible way to “sleep” near a woman, you can go right ahead and rape her.  In fact, let’s save the courts and the cops some trouble.  Rapists, molesters and pedophiles should all be able to register as sexsomniacs!

Think of it… A woman gets raped.  She calls the police and they arrive at the scene of the “crime.”  The rapist presents his “Registered Sexsomniac ID Card” (RSIC), and it’s all over.  The police tell the woman “sorry, there’s nothing we can do.”  Of course he can’t do it to her again right at that moment (presumably he is now awake) so it’s not as convenient a system as he might prefer, but at least he is free to go.

Registering sexsomniacs would save us so much time and money.  The criminal “justice” system could avoid arrest, processing, and all the court costs – not to mention the cost of housing the man if he’s found guilty.  Pop out your RSIC card, and you’re good to go.

Mr Jeal’s case is particularly disturbing because:

  • He admitted the incident.
  • He has no known medical history of sleepwalking, and no studies were performed to prove his claim of sleepwalking (that I am aware of).
  • At his own admission he was experiencing an alcohol induced blackout (NOT the same thing as sleepwalking), something he had already been told he was capable of.  He was in a house, with a woman and at least one young girl and chose to drink so much he blacked out despite knowing he had a history of “sleepwalking while drunk.” 

If that isn’t rape because of his so-called “sexsomnia” (and I don’t buy that load of bullshit for one second), isn’t it at least “criminally negligent” rape?  If I thought I was capable of doing that kind of harm while drinking and “sleeping,” I would quit drinking.  I would ensure I slept in a safe space.  I would not go to a home, with a woman in it, drink enough to blackout, spend the night, rape her and then claim not to be responsible.  Knowing what he knew, isn’t he at least criminally negligent?  He was fully acquitted.  No jail time, no fine, no treatment.  I guess there already is a sexsomnia “get out of jail free” card.

Anyone think misogyny is not still thriving in the world?