GARNER — Two women being sued by their stepfather for defamation of character and malicious prosecution say they are the ones who have been defamed.
Suzan Brunes, of Klemme, and Linda Dunshee, of Urbandale, filed a defamation counterclaim last week against their stepfather, former state legislator Henry Rayhons of Garner and his son, Dale Rayhons, of Forest City.
Their claim is in response to a civil lawsuit Henry Rayhons filed against them and others last year in the wake of his acquittal on charges he sexually abused his wife, Donna Rayhons, by having sex with her at Concord Care Center in Garner.
Prosecutors alleged Donna Rayhons, the mother of Brunes and Dunshee, was unable to consent to sex due to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Donna Rayhons died of natural causes in August 2015.
In their counterclaim last week, Dunshee and Brunes said allegations Henry Rayhons made in his lawsuit that they wouldn’t let him see their dying mother in the final weeks of her life in were untrue and defamatory.
They said the same of allegations that they were the ones who demanded criminal charges be filed against him and put their mother in the rest home without his knowledge.
Dunshee and Brunes also accused Dale Rayhons of defamation. Their filing does not specify what Dale Rayhons said that was allegedly defamatory.
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Marc Harding, Henry Rayhons’ attorney, did not return two phone messages left Tuesday afternoon seeking comment on the counterclaim.
When reached Tuesday via e-mail, Dale Rayhons said he needed to consult with his attorneys before commenting on the counterclaim.
A jury acquitted Henry Rayhons of criminal charges in April 2015.
Believing Brunes and Dunshee had pushed for his prosecution, Henry Rayhons and his attorney in the criminal case, Joel Yunek, attempted after the verdict to gain access to emails between the sisters, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
He filed the civil lawsuit against the sisters in July.
In addition to Brunes and Dunshee, Rayhons’ suit also includes the prosecutor who filed the felony sex abuse charge against him, Susan Krisko, as well as Concord Care Center Medical Director Dr. John Brady, medical director at Concord Care Center and the parent company of the care center, ABCM Corporation.
Rayhons accused Brady of not having an independent medical assessment done on Donna Rayhons before restricting sexual relations with her husband and also deferring to the sisters in not allowing him to take his wife on outings.
Krisko has since been dropped from the case. A judge ruled she was exempt from the claim.