Problems with proving an 18-year-old nursing home rape cold case are likely to prevent investigators from making other cases against a former nursing home worker, the Warren County prosecutor said.
Michael Schneider, 55, of Union Twp., Clermont County, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of raping a non-verbal, bed-ridden elderly woman in July 2000 at Cedar Village nursing home in Mason.
“The time factor here created hurdles for the case,” Fornshell said after the plea agreement was carried out.
Investigators were able to identify the victim — one of three Schneider told a girlfriend he raped while working at the nursing home — through medical records, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor John Arnold said during Friday’s hearing.
Investigators have been unable to identify the other two women Schneider said he raped and efforts by Mason police failed to turn up other suspects, Arnold said during the hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
In addition to Schneider’s confession, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said, prosecutors would need to identify victims.
“We have absolutely no idea who those victims may be,” he said.
Other evidence, such as DNA, helps to make a good case, Fornshell explained.
Schneider was scheduled to work at the Riverside Healthcare in Harrison Twp. on Feb. 27, the day of his arrest.
For similar reasons, charges involving victims in other counties were also unlikely, according to Fornshell.
Mason police contacted the Ohio Board of Nursing in an attempt to broaden the investigation, Assistant Mason Chief of Police Paul Lindenschmidt said.
“He refused to talk to us,” Lindenschmidt said, crediting Cedar Village for retaining old files that helped in the investigation.
A state investigator was able to assemble a list of places he had worked during an interview in Warren County, Lindenschmidt said.
Mason detectives also followed up with other Southwest Ohio locations and sent a bulletin out to Southwest Ohio law enforcement agencies inquiring whether they had similar cases.
Some inquiries were rebuffed by the facility, absent a subpoena, Lindenschmidt said.
Police determined Schneider was working through a placement service at the time of his arrest.
No contacts were made with authorities in the Dayton-area, Lindenschmidt said.
The state nursing board didn’t respond to a request for information Friday. Schneider’s license was inactive, according to the board’s on-line records.
An internal investigation was conducted after Schneider’s arrest at the Harrison Twp. facility where he had been working for three weeks at the time of his arrest, according to Fred Stratmann, general counsel with Communicare, which owns the facility.
There was no evidence any patients had been victimized, Stratmann said.
Capt. Dave Parin of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said - after being alerted to the case by a reporter - detectives determined there had been no complaints and communicated with officials from the nursing home and verified the internal-investigation result.
Once released from prison, for the rest of his life, Schneider will be required to register his address annually with the local sheriff and verify it in person every 90 days. He is expected to return to Clermont County, according to court records.
“You are now a Tier III sex offender,” Judge Timothy Tepe said during the sentencing.
Before Schneider entered his guilty plea and was sentenced, Arnold said Mason police were able to finally make the case against Schneider based on a tip Schneider’s girlfriend made to the FBI.
The girlfriend told the FBI Schneider said he had raped three women at the Cedar Village nursing home in Mason.
The victim died in 2006.
“He described the women as non-responsive as why he chose them,” Arnold said during the hearing.
Police investigated reports of physical abuse at the nursing home at the time and considered Schneider a “person of interest,” but no charges were filed, Arnold said.
A review of the victim’s medical records showed her injuries were consistent with sexual assault, Arnold said.
Schneider acknowledged his understanding the proceedings, but otherwise declined to make a statement during the hearing.
His lawyer, William Oswall Jr., could not be reached after the hearing.
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