A forensic psychologist will be allowed to testify during a suppression hearing that the nurse accused of sexually assaulting 14 nursing home residents was coerced by a police investigator into admitting to the crimes.
Erie County Common Pleas Judge Tygh Tone denied a motion filed by the Erie County prosecutor's office to block forensic psychologist Dr. Galit Dori from testifying during a Dec. 23 suppression hearing. Dori examined John R. Riems following Riems' arrest for allegedly assaulting the nursing home residents. Riems is 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.
The original charges against Riems stemmed from accusations that 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.
Riems, 50, is in the Erie County jail with bond set at $500,000.
During questioning in January, Riems recalled abusing nearly 100 patients during his 22-year nursing career, police said.
Dori evaluated Riems and concluded Riems suffers from a "disorder that makes him susceptible to coercion," Wisehart said.
Wisehart contends that Riems never admitted to the crimes during an interview with Perkins police Det. Al Jenkins. Wisehart is trying to get Riems' confession thrown out before the trial, which is scheduled to start Jan. 20.
Wisehart was pleased by Tone's ruling allowing Dori to participate in the hearing.
"It's good for us. She can shed some light on John's psychological makeup, which makes him susceptible to coercion," Wisehart said.
In his duties as nurse supervisor, Riems performed rectal exams on the alleged victims but did not sexually violate them, Wisehart said.
Wisehart said he has interviewed two alleged victims who claim they were not violated by Riems. One woman, a former nurse who is now deceased, said in a videotaped deposition from her deathbed that Riems did nothing "that was inappropriate medically," Wisehart said.