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Man with sexsomnia not a threat: board Add to ...

A Toronto man found not criminally responsible for sexually assaulting a woman because he suffers from sexsomnia will not face any restrictions on his freedom, the Ontario Review Board ruled Thursday.

Jan Luedecke does not pose a significant threat to public safety, the board said in granting him an absolute discharge.

"Mr. Luedecke has been living in a community without any difficulty whatsoever since the ... offence more than six years ago," the board wrote in its unanimous decision.

"The evidence falls far short of satisfying us that Mr. Luedecke remains a significant threat."

The board was responsible for determining what conditions, if any, were to be placed upon the landscaper, who suffers from the rare sleep disorder.

A lawyer for the Attorney-General's office argued that Mr. Luedecke remains a threat and wanted him to meet with a psychiatrist at least twice a year and limit himself to one alcoholic drink a day, among other conditions.

Both Mr. Luedecke's lawyer and counsel for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health successfully argued for an absolute discharge, saying he was no longer a threat.

The bizarre assault took place in the early hours of a July, 2003, house party in Toronto.

The woman was roused from sleep after a croquet tournament in Toronto's Beaches community by a strange man lying on top of her, engaged in sexual intercourse.

"Who the hell are you and what are you doing?" the woman demanded, according to court documents.

"Jan," the bewildered-looking man replied.

Mr. Luedecke confessed to the sexual assault, during which he was wearing a condom. But his lawyers successfully argued in 2005 that the landscaper is among a tiny fraction of the population that suffers from sexsomnia.

In fact, court heard Mr. Luedecke had engaged in "sleep sex" with four former girlfriends before the assault.

Court later heard that Mr. Luedecke had taken magic mushrooms the day before the party and had consumed 12 beers, two rum-and-Cokes, and two vodka drinks in the hours leading up to the assault.

He was also overworked, overstressed, and sleep-deprived, court heard - factors all cited by experts as triggers of sexsomnia.

The trial judge acquitted Mr. Luedecke on the grounds that he could not have formed the intent to commit the assault, further concluding that his condition did not qualify as a "disease of the mind."

That decision was quashed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2008, which ruled Mr. Luedecke instead should have been found not criminally responsible due to having a mental disorder.

His case was then sent to the review board, which can order a person to be committed to hospital, release them into the community on certain conditions, or grant an absolute discharge.

However, it has no power to order an accused to submit to treatment without consent.

In its decision, the board noted that although Mr. Luedecke had decided to stop taking medication, he hadn't experienced any further episodes of "involuntary sexual activity" for four years.

The board's decision was largely based on two risk assessments, one carried out by a forensic psychiatrist and the other by a forensic psychologist.

Psychiatrist Lisa Ramshaw, the board noted, acknowledged that Mr. Luedecke experienced "considerable shame and embarrassment" and a person showing such remorse was "less likely to repeat the behaviour."

In his report, Percy Wright wrote that Mr. Luedecke had taken steps to control his sexsomnia, including reducing his stress, limiting his alcohol consumption to two drinks a week or less, and sleeping "safely" with no access to women who aren't his partner.

Mr. Luedecke's victim read a statement to the board during the hearings, and "should be commended for having the courage" to do so, the board wrote.

"It was obvious to all members of the board that the victim is still experiencing tremendous difficulties arising from the events," it said.

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