SALEM, Ore. >> An Oregon man convicted of raping two women was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison Friday, almost 40 years after he was acquitted of raping his then-wife in a trial that drew national attention.
Judge Tom Hart sentenced John Rideout to two 100-month sentences, to be served consecutively. He was then led out of the courtroom by a sheriff’s deputy, his hands cuffed to a chain around his waist. On Thursday, a jury found Rideout guilty of rape and sodomy.
Both victims spoke before sentencing in the Marion County Courthouse, the same one where Rideout stood trial in 1978.
The Statesman Journal reports that he was the first U.S. man to be tried for raping his wife. The case became a TV movie starring Mickey Rourke and Linda Hamilton.
On Friday, one of the women said, “I am a victim no longer. I am a survivor.
The other victim said she wanted Rideout to “get help” and said she held no malice toward him.
Rideout insisted on his innocence as he stood and addressed the court before sentencing.
“I am not perfect, but I did not do those things,” he said. He pointed out that he had been the subject of a TV movie and had appeared on television talk shows, then complimented his two accusers.
“I’m proud of these two ladies,” he said, facing them. “They stood up to me.”
He thanked Hart for allowing him to speak. Hart said it was his constitutional right.
Then, after Rideout was done, Hart spoke before pronouncing sentence. Rideout began interjecting but Hart told him to be quiet, saying he was not having a conversation. The judge then sentenced Rideout to 100 months for each conviction, the mandatory minimum required by a ballot measure approved by Oregon voters in 1994.
In 1978, Rideout was tried for allegedly raping his wife at their Salem apartment in front of their 2-year-old daughter. Rideout was unanimously acquitted in that case. The Oregon Legislature had earlier passed a law eliminating marital privilege as a rape defense.
Rideout and his wife briefly reunited after the trial, but she filed for divorce in March 1979. Rideout said he moved to Northern California and returned to Oregon five years ago to find a wife.
The 2017 trial included testimony from Rideout and the two victims: an acquaintance from his church and an ex-girlfriend, the Statesman Journal reported.
The church acquaintance testified at the trial 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 ex-girlfriend testified that Rideout sexually assaulted her three times.