Police Chief: Nurse Abused 14 Nursing Home Residents

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - A nightshift nurse charged with raping a partially paralyzed nursing home patient abused 13 other patients, many who could not communicate, at various health care facilities in the Sandusky area since the mid-1980s, authorities said Thursday.

John Riems, 49, told police following his arrest last week that he abused almost 100 patients since the 1980s, but he could remember specific information on about only about two dozen.

Through interviews with patients, family members and a review of records at the nursing homes, investigators were able to verify 14 assaults, said Perkins Township Police Chief Tim McClung.

The victims included men and women, most were older, and most were physically or mentally unable to tell others what had happened, McClung said. Two have died.

Riems is accused of assaulting a 55-year-old man who is partially paralyzed at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center. Police have not said when the assault happened. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and gross sexual imposition. He appeared in Sandusky Municipal Court Thursday and was bound over to Erie County Common Pleas court, where his case is likely to presented to grand jury in the coming weeks.

Riems' attorney, Troy Wisehart, would not say whether Riems had admitted anything to him. He Said the family is shocked.

"We're just hoping the general public doesn't jump to conclusions," he said.

McClung would not provide specifics of the other 13 allegations.

Riems told police the pattern of abuse began shortly after his career began in 1985. He has worked at 13 hospitals and nursing homes, authorities said Thursday.

A former co-worker at Concord said some patients refused to take their medications to avoid being alone with him and that he often remained in a room alone with patients for up to an hour. Another nurse said Riems had a temper and that patients complained about him.