Patient testifies John Riems' rectal exams didn't violate her

SANDUSKY A former nurse and alleged victim of John Riems said in a videotaped deposition Riems did n
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

A former nurse and alleged victim of John Riems said in a videotaped deposition Riems did nothing wrong when he performed rectal exams on her when she was a patient at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, according to court documents filed in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

Juanita Bryner, one of the alleged victims, testified she was neversexually violated by Riems.

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Riems, 50, who worked atConcord Care as a nurse and night supervisor, is charged with 15 counts of rape, three counts of sexual battery, one count of gross sexual imposition, three counts of patient abuse and two counts of felonious sexual penetration.

He is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 20 and is being held in the Erie County jail with bond set at $500,000.

Riems wrote down the names of 23 people he sexually violated and admitted to sexually assaulting 100 in his career, which began in the 1980s, police said.

Riems was charged in January 2008 after a Concord Care resident complained he'd been sexually abused by Riems. The victim could not speak, but was able tocommunicate with investigators non-verbally.

Bryner's physician contacted Riems' attorney, Troy Wisehart, in August saying Bryner wanted to meet with Wisehart.

Bryner told Wisehart she was never violated by Riems after she was named as a victim in a second indictment filed in the case in August. Bryner, a diabetic, was on dialysis at the time and had severe kidney failure, Wisehart said. Before giving her testimony she decided to end her dialysis treatment, which meant she would die, so she wanted to tell her story be-fore passing away, Wisehart said.

Another of the alleged victims also told Wisehart she was notviolated by Riems, the lawyer said.

"There are only three people who can communicate at all that are alleged victims in this case. Two of three victims are saying that he never did anything inappropriate ... to me there is definitely a problem with this confession," Wisehart said.

Bryner worked as a nurse for 25 years. She lived at Concord beginning in 2002 and told Wisehart in her deposition that Riems performed a rectal skim on her six times and in none of those did she ever believe Riems did anything to violate her.

"A person knows when they are being violated," Wisehart said. "Juanita was a nurse for many, many years and performed this procedure many, many times. She knew it was necessary."

"I feel he followed properprocedure," Bryner said during the deposition, which was conducted Aug. 27, 2008 at Concord.

She also said Riems never touched her in an erogenous zone and did not perform the exams in a sexual manner.

"Did you feel these exams were medically necessary?" Wisehart asked Bryner.

"Yes, I do," Bryner said.

Bryner testified Riems could be "aggressive" in his nursing style, but that he acted professionally.

Bryner said she did not care for Riems personally, but that was not because of any inappropriate actions by Riems.

"It was just that he was an odd duck and, you know, you just sort of ... it may have been a personality clash," Bryner said.

She also testified she was never interviewed by either Perkins Police or the Erie County Sheriff's office, the two main investigating agencies in the case.

In cross examination, Sandy Rubino of the Erie County Prosecutor's office learned Bryner was taking medication for anxiety, and she was given morphine the night before her videotaped testimony.

Wisehart filed a motion to have Riems' confession thrown out. Wisehart argued Riems was coerced and threatened by investigators into making theconfession. He also said Riems suffers from a psychological disorder that makes him vulnerable to being coerced.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter did not return a call for comment. Judge Tygh Tone has not yet ruled on Wisehart's motion to suppress Riems' alleged confession.