Riems: I didn't do it

SANDUSKY Former nurse John Riems has recanted his confession that he sexually violated more than 100
jasonsinger
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Former nurse John Riems has recanted his confession that he sexually violated more than 100 patients.

In January, he entered an Alford plea to four counts of sexual battery and one count of gross sexual imposition. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison.

An Alford plea allows a defendant to assert his innocence while admitting there's overwhelming evidence against him that will likely convince a jury to find him guilty.

But in a deposition taken in May for a civil case involving six of Riems' victims and Concord Care Center of Sandusky where Riems worked, Riems said he only confessed to make the interrogation stop.

"Were you attempting to honestly answer (the police) when you said 'I did abuse patients under my care at the Concord Care nursing home?'" a lawyer asked Riems during the deposition, according to a portion recently obtained by the Register.

"At the time I was trying to make the interrogation process go faster," Riems said. "I wanted to get out of that -- out of the room."

The retraction isn't necessarily a surprise.

Before he entered his plea, Riems' lawyers also tried to have his confession suppressed.

The lawyers argued Riems was denied a lawyer and the confession was coerced. But Erie County Common Pleas Judge Tygh Tone ruled the confession was admissible.

In the deposition in May, Riems said he only confessed to make the interrogation end, but the victims' lawyers were skeptical.

"You supply numerous names (after confessing)," one lawyer told Riems. "How did you think that would make it go faster? Wouldn't that have elongated the process?"

"Well, actually what you're saying, it didn't get me out quicker," Riems said.

"So you thought the more names you gave, the happier they would be and the quicker it would be over?"

"That -- that sounds good. Yes," Riems said.

The deposition was hundreds of pages in length, and the Register is working to obtain the rest.

Shawn Allen, Riems' lawyer, said although Tone ruled the confession admissible in the criminal case, Allen's examining whether they can get it suppressed in the civil case.

Judge Tone is overseeing the civil case as well.

Asked if there was precedent for allowing a confession in a criminal case but not in the related civil matter, Allen said that's what he's looking into.

"We're still investigating that," Allen said. "That's not a clear-cut issue."

A pretrial for the civil case is scheduled for December. The trial will likely begin sometime next year.