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Trial of former Garner lawmaker Rayons on sex abuse charge will stay in Hancock county

This news story was published on December 23, 2014.
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GARNER – The trial of a former state legislator from Garner will not be moved from his home in Hancock county.

On November 13, Assistant Attorney General at the Iowa Department of Justice Tyler Buller filed for a change of venue for the trial. The venue change was requested “because the prosecutors don’t believe they can get a fair hearing from jurors from his home county.” The Des Moines Register claimed that such a move is “almost unheard of from prosecutors”.

Prosecutors contended that local jurors could be prejudiced toward Rayhons by statements from his lawyer and family, which were published by local media outlets. The statements said that no sexual abuse occurred, and that the charges were “incredibly illogical and unnatural, as well as incredibly hurtful.”

Rayons, age 78, stands accused of felony sexual abuse of his now-deceased wife. He is a former House District 8 state representative that did not seek re-election last year. Rayhons is accused of sexually abusing his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, on May 23rd when she was a resident at the Concord Care Center in Garner. A criminal complaint states that Rayhons was told a week before the incident allegedly took place at a care conference with care center staff and his wife’s family that she did not have the cognitive ability to consent to any sexual activity. Allegedly, a roommate of Rayons’ wife overheard the sexual encounter and told care center staff, which led to the charges.

Third-degree sexual abuse is punishable by up to ten years in prison. On September 17, Rayhons pleaded not guilty and is represented by attorney Joel Yunek of Mason City.


Henry Rayhons

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