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State Supreme Court rejects Auburn woman's claims in statutory rape case

The State Supreme Court has rejected an Auburn woman's claim that she should not have been convicted in 2009 of statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy because she'd "been asleep" during several of their sexual encounters.

Police arrested Lindy Deer in 2007 and charged her with three counts of third-degree child rape after the boy, a relative of a woman for whom Deer had worked as an administrative assistant, disclosed the sexual incidents to a school guidance counselor. The boy had recently moved to Auburn from another state to attend a private religious boarding school.

At Deer's trial in 2009, prosecutors presented evidence showing that the then-52-year-old woman had in fact had sex with the boy numerous times between September 2006 and June 2007. Deer said that as she'd been asleep during several of the incidents, she could not be held accountable because they had occurred without her knowledge or consent.

During the other incidents, Deer further claimed, the boy had forced her to have sex with him without her consent. Ultimately, the jury convicted her of three counts of third-degree child rape and sentenced her to 46 months on each count, to be served concurrently.

On appeal, Deer's attorneys argued that the original trial judge had erred by instructing jurors that rather than make prosecutors rebut her "sleep sex" claim, Deer would have the burden of providing that she had really been asleep. The appeals court agreed and dismissed the charges.

The issue before the State Supreme Court was whether the appeals court erred, and the justices found that it had.

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