John Rideout, First Man Arrested For Raping His Wife, Arrested Again For Rape

John Joseph Rideout became notorious back in 1978 when he became the first American man tried for raping his wife while they were living together, after she accused him of committing the assault in front of their 2-year-old child. Rideout was eventually acquitted, but now, almost 40 years later, he is facing new charges of rape against two women, one of which was his girlfriend at the time, according to the Statesman Journal.

Rideout, who is now 59, is accused of two charges of first-degree rape stemming from engaging in intercourse with a woman who was unable to consent by “reason of physical helplessness” back in May of this year. The woman was Rideout’s girlfriend at the time, according to Deputy District Attorney Gillian Fischer. The second woman met Rideout at her church. She confided in her pastor after the alleged assault and he kicked Rideout out of the congregation. The second alleged victim took no action until Rideout left her a voicemail earlier this year, when she finally went to police.

Fischer noted that Rideout was also a danger to the public for a number of other charges over the years, including DUI, theft, and firearms charges.

spousal rape case [Image via iStock]Rideout first made headlines as the first man tried for raping his wife at the time, as Oregon was one of only a few states that did not recognize “marital privilege” between husband and wife as a defense for rape. Greta Rideout was painted as an unreliable witness by defense attorney Charles Burt, attacking her integrity by dredging up her personal history, according to news reports of the case at the time.

“Here is a woman of 23 years who had an abortion, lied about sexual relations and accused another man of raping her,” Burt told the jury of eight women and four men.

Marion County District Attorney Gary Gortmaker argued that the jury should set a precedent to protect other women from spousal rape.

“You can’t fake fear. This isn’t the first Rideout case. It is just the first in the courtroom… Don’t we owe it to all the Greta Rideouts in this country to use the law rather than suicide or homicide?”

Not only did the case make national headlines, but inspired a 1980 made-for-television movie starring Mickey Rourke as Rideout and Linda Hamilton as his wife, in her pre-Terminator days. Even though Rideout was acquitted, the case had long term repercussions for rape victims assaulted by their husbands. When the film came out in 1980, the Washington Post wrote an editorial about the long term effects of the case.

“When 23-year-old Greta Rideout charged her husband with rape, she touched a live nerve deeply buried in the Western tradition of man as protector, woman as chattel. That John Rideout was acquitted was almost irrelevant. It did not affect the Oregon law which eliminated marriage as a defense against a rape charge, despite dire predictions of some connected with the case and the stated hope of members of the town’s legal establishment. It did encourage the passage of similar laws in California and Minnesota.”

courtroom [Image via iStock]After the trial and his acquittal in 1978, Rideout quit his job as a short-order cook and briefly reunited with his wife before splitting up for good later that year. While Gortmaker was certainly speaking in figurative terms that it wasn’t the “first Rideout case,” little did anyone know it literally wouldn’t be the last.

For these new charges, Fischer requested bail be denied, and when she did, Rideout turned his back to the courtroom and shook his head, according to the Statesman Journal. Rideout even called out when Fischer referenced the “two separate victims and two separate rapes.”

“Alleged! Alleged, your honor!”

Rideout was granted bail, but it was set at $300,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for August 11.

[Image via iStock]