Sexual assault cases on the rise

SANDUSKY Although rare, victims of repeated sexual abuse have emerged recently in Erie and Ottawa co
May 24, 2010



Although rare, victims of repeated sexual abuse have emerged recently in Erie and Ottawa counties.

Four people in Ottawa County were sexually assaulted multiple times by four different offenders in separate cases. In Erie County one man, a nurse at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, told police he assaulted nearly 100 people over his 22-year career, according to police reports.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said multiple rapes involving one perpetrator are uncommon.

"We usually don't have multiple counts," Baxter said. "You don't have these serial rapists, if you will. It's rare."

Although multiple sexual assault cases are rare, it often depends on the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator.

In Ottawa County the four victims, all juvenile girls, knew the sexual offenders.

"In general, where they have access to the victim and power over the victim, you'll see serial victimization of the same person," Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan said.

While Huron County has not had any recent cases of multiple sexual offenses, Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said they often occur within the home.

"It's very typical in cases where we have people who are related or live in the home," Leffler said. "We don't catch those on the first incident."

Leffler said school cooperation and victims coming forward have shed light on these specific sexual offenses.

In one case, a woman came forward after 20 years and told authorities about being sexually assaulted when she was a child. The man was subsequently arrested for multiple counts of rape and will soon have a trial.

Sexual assault victims need to deal with that emotional pain if they want to move forward in life, said Mary Kay Baumgartner, coordinator of the sexual abuse treatment program at The Giving Tree in Port Clinton.

"If you don't get that kind of support and carry it around by yourself, it's hard to get the right perspective and can end up hurting a person much more," Baumgartner said.

The Giving Tree offers counseling for sexual abuse victims and their families along with separate treatment for sexual offenders and their families.

"There definitely is hope for these people," Baumgartner said. "We try to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel, help them go forward and putting the blame where it belongs -- on the offender."

If you are the victim of sexual assault, call the Rape Crisis Line at 419-624-6880 or the Firelands Mental Health Hotline at 1-800-826-1306.

To report sexual abuse, contact your local police department.

Multiple sexual assault cases

Ottawa County

* Lesley Nickel, 49, was charged with 50 counts of sex-related offenses including rape against a 14-year-old girl. His trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 4 at the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.

* Erin Baker, 25, a former volunteer Port Clinton High School assistant basketball coach, faces 55 counts of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a student whom she coached. Baker did not return to her coaching position. Her trial will be at 8:30 a.m. March 18 in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.

* Dale Notestine, 60, faces 52 charges related to the rape of a 13-year-old girl along with providing drugs to her. His trial is set for 8:30 a.m. April 1 in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.

* Clayton Russell, 70, was charged with 48 felony counts of rape after he sexually molested a girl in the 1980s. The victim, now 30, told Oak Harbor police she was sexually assaulted from the age of 5 to 8 years old.

Russell's trial is set for 8:30 a.m. April 29 in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.

Erie County

* John R. Riems is suspected of abusing 14 people at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, where he worked as a nurse. Riems was charged with rape and gross sexual imposition, and his case will go before the Erie County grand jury.

During questioning, Riems, 49, recalled abusing nearly 100 patients during his 22-year career, though no charges have been filed yet for the other victims.

All information was taken from police and court records.