The family of an Ohio nursing home resident has filed a lawsuit against a male nurse accused of raping a partially paralyzed patient and sexually abusing at least 13 others. According to an article in the Port Clinton News Herald, the lawsuit alleges that nightshift nurse John Riems, 49, physically and mentally abused their father. The suit, which also lists the nursing home, Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, as a defendant, seeks more than $175,000 in damages.
Riems, who is facing criminal charges, has admitted, following his arrest, that he abused close to 100 patients since the 1980’s. He has pleaded not guilty to rape and gross sexual imposition charges. In fact, the family of the abused man did not find out about the abuse until Riems was charged with raping another patient recently. So far officials say they have found 14 cases of abuse and are investigating 10 others.
What is unbelievable and disgusting in this case is how the nursing home staff and this nurse’s supervisors knew nothing about his behavior for so many years. How did they miss the red flags? Not only that, but the article says Riems had “an easily discoverable history of patient abuse” even before Corcord hired him. Did the nursing home not even do a background check before hiring this guy to work with people who are vulnerable to say the least?
Our hearts go out to the family of the elderly resident who has reportedly suffered severe physical and emotional injuries as a result of this abuse. He has been a resident for almost three years and it is unimaginable how many times the nurse had abused him and hurt him. Hopefully, the discovery process will bring out more answers in this case and prevent such a heinous crime from occurring in the future and affecting other unsuspecting families.
This story is also a wake-up call for anyone who has older relatives living in a nursing home. When something doesn’t add up or look right, look into it. Always watch for signs of abuse – physical or emotional – in your loved one. If your elder relative is talking about things that seem preposterous, remember this guy’s admissions and what he got away with for so long.