Grand jury indicts Riems on 10 counts

SANDUSKY Erie County grand jurors have returned 10 charges against accused nursing home rapist John
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Erie County grand jurors have returned 10 charges against accused nursing home rapist John R. Riems.

Meanwhile, state investigators have cited Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center for six violations and continue to look into a complaint of sexual abuse at the nursing home.

Riems, 49, is charged with one count of gross sexual imposition and three counts each of rape, sexual battery and patient abuse.

These offenses were against two victims, Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said.

The first alleged victim, a 55-year-old blind and partially paralyzed man, was abused Jan. 18, police say. That incident was reported to police by the man's family and sparked an in-depth investigation into Riems' work history. During questioning Riems recalled abusing nearly 100 patients during his 22-year career, police said.

The other victim is a man in his 80s, Baxter said. That man was abused by Riems Nov. 20 and Dec. 20, he said.

"It's still an ongoing investigation," Baxter said. "There's a lot of medical records the investigators are looking at."

Determining how many nursing home patients may have been abused by the former night shift nurse is proving to be a challenge. That's because many of the people who authorities think were victims are unable to talk with them. ''That's a problem,'' Baxter said.

Investigators say it will be hard to find all the possible victims. Among the obstacles they face are that many of the patients the man claims to have assaulted are unable to speak. Some are dead.

And some of the cases go back two decades.

More cases could be presented to the grand jury in the future, Baxter said.

These two cases were the only cases against Riems presented to the February grand jury.

Perkins police Chief Tim McClung said previously that 14 separate victims of abuse at Concord Care had been identified.

Special agent-in-charge for the Ohio Attorney General's office, Lloyd Early, is heading up an investigation into possible sexual assaults perpetrated by Riems in areas outside of Perkins Township. Those could number 10 or more, he said previously.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday on the status of the investigation.

Meanwhile the Ohio Department of Health has cited Riems' former employer, Concord Care, for six violations.

Those citations range from improper use of physical restraints, pressure sores on a resident and improper hydration of a resident.

Another complaint of sexual abuse at the home is still under investigation, said Sara Morman, department spokeswoman.

A plan of corrective action was submitted to state investigators from Concord Care in response to the citations. That report will be reviewed and investigators will then re-check the facility to make sure changes are made, Morman said.

Three civil lawsuits are also pending in Erie County Common Pleas court against Riems and Concord Care. The suits allege that Riems physically and mentally abused residents.

Riems' bond at the Erie County jail has been increased to $500,000 following the filing of additional charges.

His attorney, Troy Wisehart, did not return a call for comment Tuesday.

Concord Care officials have repeatedly declined to comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Citations issued at Concord Care of Sandusky

* Physical Restraints: the facility implemented bed rails for a resident without any indication of physical or psychological condition that would require such.

* Comprehensive Assessments: the facility failed to completely and adequately assess two of 10 sampled residents to determine their care needs.

* Comprehensive Care Plans: the facility failed to meet accepted standards of care for a resident.

* Pressure Sores: the facility failed to identify risk factors and implement interventions for the development of a pressure sore on a resident.

* Naso-gastric Tubes: the facility failed to provide the necessary assessment and care for two residents who are fed via tubes.

* Hydration: the facility failed to ensure adequate hydration for a resident.

Source: Ohio Department of Health