Man claims he didn't remember attacking teen due to 'sexsomnia,' police say

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana -- An Indiana man claims he doesn't remember sexually assaulting a girl because of his "sexsomnia."

Bloomington police say 18-year-old Andrew Passwaiter fondled a 15-year-old girl last month during a sleepover at a home on Arbutus Drive.

"She had woken up in the middle of the night and Mr. Passwaiter and he had his hands down her pants. She then left the room," Bloomington Police Capt. Steve Kellams told WXIN.

But when questioned by police, Passwaiter said he had no memory of the alleged incident. He told investigators he suffers from "sexsomnia."

"That was a first for us," Capt. Kellams said.

However, a witness who was there told investigators Passwaiter was not asleep during the alleged incident.

"We continued with our investigation, doing a complete interview with the victim of that case and he was subsequently arrested for sexual battery," Capt. Kellams said.

Believe it or not, "sexsomnia" is a type of sleep disorder - also known as automatism - recognized by psychologists.

"We did quickly look it up. However, he stated that he had been diagnosed but was unable to provide us with any information of a doctor we could follow up with. So based on all the totality of the circumstances we went ahead and made the arrest," Capt. Kellams said.

Police said Passwaiter told them the doctor who made his diagnosis is dead now. The question going forward is whether Passwaiter's sexsomnia defense would hold up in court.

"I think most people think this is a ridiculous defense," defense attorney Jack Crawford said. "But if you think about it, we don't hold people responsible for involuntary acts."

Crawford isn't connected to the case, but says if Passwaiter can prove he really does suffer from this condition.

"If he can establish that, that's a defense the jury will probably have to consider," he said.

Passwaiter's sexual battery charge is a Level 6 felony.