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Swedish man acquitted of rape charges after court accepts ‘sexsomnia’ defense

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A Swedish man who was convicted of rape and sentenced to two years in prison was released this month when an appeals court ruled that he couldn’t be held accountable because he was suffering from “sexsomnia.”

According to The Guardian, 26-year-old Mikael Halvarsson had no intention of having sex with his victims, so he could not be found guilty of rape.

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The defendant, the court claimed, “was in a state of sleepiness, unconscious of what was happening,” and his former partner apparently confirmed that he did, in fact, suffer from this rare disorder. He had tried to have sex with her while asleep, she said, and when awoken, was confused and had no idea what was happening.

Dr. Kingman Strohl, the director of research at the Sleep Center at Case Medical Center in Cleveland said that “sexsomnia” is but one of a number of unintended behaviors that accompany certain sleep disorders.

“Usually people are very scared and also quite confused as to what’s going on,” Strohl said. “We look for signs [that it has] gone on before and occurs in context of sleep walking and sleep talking.”

Another similar, but more common disorder, is the parasomnia known as sleep-related eating disorder (SRED), in which sufferers awake to find that they have raided pantries and refrigerators in their sleep. Such sleep disorders, Strohl said, are more common when individuals are very tired or have taken sleep aids.

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However, Dr. Mark Eric Dyken, a professor of neurology and director of the sleep disorder clinic at the University of Iowa, said that people should be wary of those who blame parasomnia for their actions.

“There are bad people and there are sociopaths,” he said. “You worry about people utilizing this diagnosis.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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Trump’s resolve on background checks ‘substantially softened’ after call from NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: NYT

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President Donald Trump has reversed his promises to fight for gun control, The New York Times reported Monday.

"Days after a pair of deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Trump said he was prepared to endorse what he described as 'very meaningful background checks' that would be possible because of his 'greater influence now over the Senate and over the House,'" the newspaper reported.

"But after discussions with gun rights advocates during his two-week working vacation in Bedminster, N.J. — including talks with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association — Mr. Trump’s resolve appears to have substantially softened, and he has reverted to reiterating the conservative positions on the gun issue he has espoused since the 2016 campaign," The Times reported.

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