A father who raped his 4-year-old daughter has been let off after courts accepted his excuse that he was sleepwalking.
The father, a 30-year-old resident of Belgium, returned home after drinking with friends, going to sleep in the same room as his 4-year-old daughter.
He was alleged to have raped the girl after she woke him up to go to the toilet.
The man admits raping his daughter, but says he was asleep:
“This is a sexual version of sleepwalking. I was deeply ashamed when I found out what was happening.”
He claimed he only awoke when his daughter began screaming: “Papa it’s me. It’s me.”
His defence claims he suffered from a rare condition called “sexsomnia,” in which a person engages in sexual behaviour whilst sleepwalking.
The defence argued for absolving him of all responsibility for the incident:
“My client has had sleep problems for a long time. When he was living with the girl’s mother he often had sex with her in his sleep.
He could not remember what happened with his daughter the next day. He is deeply sorry. But he could do nothing about it. He was powerless.”
“You have people who talk or walk in their sleep. You have others who eat cakes and take things from the fridge. And you have a few who want to have sex.”
The court opted to give him the benefit of the doubt and ruled he could not be charged. The prosecution intends to appeal the ruling.
The girl’s mother is aghast:
“This verdict gives a green light to all rapists and paedophiles to escape the law”
The ruling was widely condemned as “the summit of perversity,” with the Belgian public being especially sensitive to paedophilia scandals after a huge child sex slave scandal in recent years.
However, since being classified in 1996 a number of men accused of rape have successfully mounted a “sexsomnia” defence – “Your honour, I was sleep-raping” may yet become a common defence in such cases.