Gaps in work file of nursing home rape suspect

PERKINS TWP. Cryptic letters and gaps in the 1986 personnel file of John R. Riems speak volumes. The nurse now accused
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Cryptic letters and gaps in the 1986 personnel file of John R. Riems speak volumes.

The nurse now accused of sexually assaulting scores of nursing home residents worked a short stint at the Ohio Veterans Home early in his career.

The details of his resignation from OVH following six months of employment in 1986 remain sketchy. Documents indicate there was some sort of allegation of sexual harassment and his supervisor considered him an "undesirable employee."

Perkins police say Riems, 49, is responsible for raping a 55-year-old disabled resident at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center. Riems, they said, confessed to the crime and recalled sexually abusing some 100 residents in his 22-year nursing career.

Riems has since been fired from his job at Concord Care, where he worked as the night-shift supervisor. He is in the Erie County jail on $100,000 bond.

While employed at OVH from April 7, 1986, to Oct. 23, 1986, Riems accumulated a personnel file full of inconsistencies. In his three-month review, he scored average to above average, but in a letter dated Oct. 30, 1986, Riems wrote to supervisors that he "was forced to resign under threat of termination recommendation."

During his six-month review -- which was not in the personnel file -- Riems said his supervisor called him an "undesirable employee." Riems wrote that he resigned two weeks later to avoid termination.

In the letter Riems also asked to return to OVH as an employee. He never did.

A letter of support from a coworker points to what might have made him an undesirable employee.

"I personally never felt I was being sexually harassed or coerced by John Riems," she wrote. "He never made inappropriate comments to me."

A resume in Riems' file also reveals he worked at Fremont Memorial Hospital as a nurse from June to November 1985.

The Human Resources Department of Fremont Memorial Hospital could not confirm his employment, citing a policy of not giving out employee information without that employee's consent.

The resume also lists Riems' educational path.

A 1977 graduate of Sandusky High School, Riems went on to attend BGSU Firelands and obtain an associate's degree in business administration.

During nursing school Riems gained clinical experience at Providence Hospital, where he finished his nursing degree, in addition to St. Charles Hospital in Toledo, Children's Hospital Medical Center in Akron and Good Samaritan Hospital in Sandusky. He was also employed full-time at Huron Health Care Center from May to November 1984.

Perkins police Chief Tim McClung said Riems may have worked at 10 nursing homes in the three-county area. He declined to say which homes.

The Register confirmed at least one other nursing home where Riems worked. He was employed full-time as a nursing supervisor at Wesleyan Village Senior Center in Elyria from 1988 to 1990, according to spokeswoman Pam Koutsaftis.

She said he resigned in 1990, probably wanting to move closer to home, and then worked as a supplemental employee until the recent allegations at Concord Care. Riems was immediately suspended after his arrest, she said.

"He will not be called back to work here," she said.

Koutsaftis said as a supplemental employee, Riems worked about one day a month, as recently as this month. In 2007 he worked only 75 hours for the entire year, she said.

"We have no evidence or reports of any inappropriate behavior," Koutsaftis said.

Troy Wisehart, attorney for Riems, did not return calls seeking comment Friday.