First U.S. man tried for raping wife, and acquitted, is found guilty of raping 2 in Oregon

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man who gained notoriety in 1978 when he became the first U.S. man to be tried for raping his wife while they were living together has been convicted of sexually assaulting two women.

John Rideout was found guilty Thursday of rape and sodomy, the Statesman Journal reported ( The verdict in Marion County followed a trial that included testimony from Rideout and the two victims — an acquaintance from his church and an ex-girlfriend.

It had been almost 40 years since he stood trial in the same county for allegedly raping his wife at their Salem apartment in front of their 2-year-old daughter. Rideout was unanimously acquitted in the case that spawned a TV movie starring Mickey Rourke and Linda Hamilton.

That case arose a year after the Oregon Legislature passed a law eliminating marital privilege as a rape defense. Rideout and wife briefly reunited after the trial, but she filed for divorce in March 1979.

Rideout testified this week that afterward, he moved to Northern California to work in a gas station but had returned to Oregon to live in a trailer on his mother’s property and work seasonally at Norpac Foods.

The church acquaintance testified that she hired Rideout to fix a piece of furniture and help with yard work. She said she thought he was intoxicated and invited him to sleep on her couch instead of bicycling home in the dark. She said goodnight, took her medication and went to bed.

“The next thing I knew, he was in my bed,” she said. “I kept telling him to stop, but he wouldn’t.”

Rideout maintained the sex was consensual. The woman cried and left the courtroom when Rideout began describing his version of the encounter.

The ex-girlfriend testified that Rideout sexually assaulted her three times.

The woman said she broke up with Rideout after the second assault, but she agreed to live with him after a fire left her temporarily homeless.

After a third assault, she left for good, she said. She reported the sexual assault after her sister flagged down a deputy.

Rideout, who twice proposed to the woman, testified he never attacked her: “I would never do that to my first love.”

Without much physical evidence, Deputy District Attorney Gillian Fischer asked jurors to rely heavily on testimony.

“Our society values that as heavily as any other type of evidence,” Fischer said. “Our words mean something.”

Rideout’s sentencing is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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