More possible victims ID'd

PERKINS TWP. Police have identified 13 more suspected victims of abuse at Concord Care and Rehabilit
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

PERKINS TWP.

Police have identified 13 more suspected victims of abuse at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center and notified those people's families.

Two of the victims are deceased.

John R. Riems, 49, is already charged with rape and gross sexual imposition. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 55-year-old blind and partially paralyzed male resident at Concord Care.

During questioning Riems recalled abusing nearly 100 patients during his 22-year career, police said. No charges have been filed against Riems as yet for other suspected victims.

Riems remains on $100,000 bond at Erie County jail, where he's been isolated from other inmates.

"We have not integrated him with the general population at this point because of the severity and the shocking nature of the allegations," said Capt. Todd Dempsey, jail administrator.

"Inmates have a tendency to look down upon those charged with those types of crimes."

The isolation is for Riems' safety as much as for the other inmates, Dempsey said, adding Riems seems to have a "reserved" personality.

Police have tracked down a list of 13 facilities where Riems worked during his career. Among his most recent employers were Briarfield of Milan and what is now Arbors at Clyde, formerly Woods View nursing home.

Several other nursing homes in and around the Sandusky area have closed since Riems worked in them, or records were not available on Riems, Perkins police Chief Tim McClung said. By law those homes are required to keep records for only seven years.

Jessica Short, director of both Concord Care and Briarfield of Milan, has declined comment. Chief Executive Officer for Concord Health Care, Inc., Debra Ifft, did not return several calls for comment during a three-day period.

Joe Austin, regional director of operations of Arbors at Clyde, said the nursing home changed ownership in 1997, after Riems' was employed there.

"We can't provide any information on specific employee personnel issues," Austin said, citing employee confidentiality.

Riems was a nurse at the home from 1990-95.

"The leadership that was here when Mr. Riems worked here has changed," Austin said. "It's a totally different facility."

Riems' career in nursing started as early as 1984 when he was going through training at Providence nursing school.

"At this point we have fully investigated the alleged victims in Perkins Township," McClung said at a press conference Thursday morning. "Due to jurisdictional limitations, that is the focus of our investigation."

Other complaints, numbering at least 10 right now, are being handled by the Ohio Attorney General's office. Lloyd Early, special agent-in-charge for the office, declined to say where those alleged incidents took place.

The victims were both men and women, McClung said. And most were elderly.

"Typically the victims would be of a limited capacity to report the alleged abuse," McClung said. "Many of these were unable to report or communicate what was happening."

McClung said there has been no indication other nursing home employees were aware of the abuse. The township investigation is expected to be complete in about two weeks, he said. Meanwhile state investigators will continue to pursue leads outside of Perkins Township.

"We are in the very, very early stages of what will likely be a very complicated investigation," Early said.

The Ohio Department of Health is still investigating two complaints of sexual abuse at Concord Care, according to Sara Morman, department spokesperson.

The department has no other complaints on file for Riems prior to 2003, as state law only requires records to be maintained for five years, she said.

Reaching out for help

* To report victim abuse, call Ohio Attorney General's office at 877-AG4-OHIO

* Or visit ag4ohio.gov