Riems trial set for January

SANDUSKY A trial date has been set in the case against the night-shift nurse accused of sexually ass
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



A trial date has been set in the case against the night-shift nurse accused of sexually assaulting 14 nursing home residents.

The trial for John R. Riems will start Jan. 20, 2009, nearly a year after allegations against Riems first became public.

"This case is starting to get old," Tone said Wednesday during a pretrial hearing.

Riems, 50, dressed in a tan blazer, dark slacks and tie, talked with family members before the hearing.

Tone made no rulings on suppression or competency of witnesses in the case. He also declined to rule on a motion filed by Riems' attorney, Troy Wisehart, to have his client's bonds reduced. Riems could be placed under house arrest and equipped with an ankle bracelet, Wisehart suggested.

The original charges against Riems stemmed from allegations he abused two male patients at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center in Perkins Township. One victim is a 55-year-old blind and partially paralyzed man, and the other is a man in his 80s, investigators said.

During questioning in January, Riems recalled abusing nearly 100 patients during his 22-year nursing career, police said.

Riems is being held in the Erie County jail on $500,000 bond. Riems was indicted twice in the case: once in February and a second time in August.

In arguing for a reduction in bond, Wisehart told Tone that one alleged victim told Wisehart in a videotaped deposition that Riems never sexually violated her.

The former nurse contacted Wisehart shortly before she died to give her statement. She suffered from diabetes and elected to take herself off dialysis. But before she died she wanted it to be known that Riems did nothing to her "that was inappropriate medically," Wisehart said.

Another alleged victim provided a similar statement, Wisehart said.

"She, too, is indicating she was never violated by Mr. Riems,'" he said.

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter told Tone he was aware of the woman's statements.

"This is nothing new," Baxter said.

Prosecutors provided Wisehart a list of victims, Baxter told the judge, and indicated on the list two victims who believed they had not been violated by Riems.

After Wednesday's hearing Wisehart told reporters in a quiet hallway outside Tone's courtroom that Riems never confessed to Perkins police that he sexually assaulted any of the victims.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Galit Dori evaluated Riems, Wisehart said, and concluded Riems suffers from a "disorder that makes him susceptible to coercion." In his duties as nurse supervisor, Riems performed rectal exams on the alleged victims but did not sexually violate them, Wisehart said.

Wisehart said police and prosecutors created a victim list by asking Riems how many patients he performed a rectal exam on. Riems provided police a list that then became the list of victims, Wisehart said.

Baxter counters Wisehart's claims, saying Riems confessed to the crimes during the investigation.

"The guy first of all gave a confession, wrote out names," Baxter said. "He also indicated that in doing this he may have done it in such a way that the victims would have thought that he was doing it for medicinal reasons ... but he was actually doing it for sexual gratification. That can explain, based upon his own statement, why some of these people may have thought they may not have been violated."

Riems has been charged with 15 counts of rape, three counts of sexual battery, one count of gross sexual imposition, three counts of patient abuse and one count of felonious sexual penetration.

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