Neighbors shocked by claims of rape

SANDUSKY Neighbors of John R. Riems said they were shocked to hear the "quiet" and "n
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Neighbors of John R. Riems said they were shocked to hear the "quiet" and "nice" man has been accused of raping a nursing home resident. 

Ryan Arnott said she could not believe the accusations, adding that Riems hosts an annual neighborhood cookout at his home.

"He doesn't seem like the type," she said Wednesday. "That's beyond weird."

"The only thing I know is his interest was his work," said Fred Harple, who lives across the street from the Riemses.

Riems, 49, 100 block of W. Cedarwood Drive, is in the Erie County jail on $100,000 bond for felony charges of rape and gross sexual imposition.

Police say Riems, a registered nurse since 1985, sexually assaulted a 55-year-old partially paralyzed man as he lay helpless in his bed at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center.

During questioning, Riems recalled abusing nearly 100 patients during his 22-year career, Perkins police Chief Tim McClung said.

Riems and his wife Judith volunteered in the Sandusky chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, said Amy Poldan, the group's executive director.

"We are aware of the recent allegations against John Riems, who served as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters prior to 2006," she said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. "We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of this individual's connection with allegations of sexual assault. We express our sympathy to all of those affected."

The volunteer services of Judith Riems have been terminated, Poldan said, declining to answer questions about John Riems' service as a volunteer.

"The safety of the children we serve is our No. 1 priority," she concluded in the statement. "Every staff member or volunteer is thoroughly screened ... Big Brothers Big Sisters has zero tolerance for abuse or assault of any kind."

Police searched the Riemses' home Wednesday morning, confiscating several bags of evidence and a laptop computer.

McClung said Riems' wife indicated her husband used the computer a lot and would quickly shut it off if she walked into the room.

The Register visited the home while Judith Riems was inside, but she did not respond to several knocks at the door.

Since Riems' arrest, several family members of other nursing home residents have called with concerns about their relatives, McClung said. Information has not been released about other nursing homes where Riems has worked during his career.

Concord Care Director Jessica Short declined to answer specific questions about Riems.

Riems has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He awaits a preliminary hearing Jan. 31 in Sandusky Municipal Court.

Reporter Tom Jackson contributed to this story.