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Monday, November 27th, 2006

Bremen man accused of raping disabled woman while with MR/DD

By Shelley Grieshop
A 25-year-old New Bremen man is accused of multiple sex offenses including the rape of a disabled woman while he was employed by the Auglaize County Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD) agency.
William E. Land, 32 Meadowview Terrace, was indicted recently by an Auglaize County grand jury and charged with two counts each of rape, a first-degree felony, sexual battery, a third-degree felony, and gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony.
Land faces a maximum 33 years in prison if convicted on all counts. At a hearing last week, he was ordered held on a $250,000 bond. He is expected to offer a plea at an arraignment hearing today in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court in Wapakoneta.
Land claims to be indigent and is represented by court-appointed attorney Mark Weller.
Because of the nature of the alleged crimes, Land could face a sexual predator hearing to determine whether he is a public risk if he is convicted of the charges. If labeled a sexual predator - the most serious of the designations issued by the court - Land would be required to register his address with the county sheriff each 90 days for the rest of his life.
The victim, whose age was not given, is a client of the county agency where Land was employed, authorities have confirmed. The alleged sexual assaults occurred at two different locations in Auglaize County in October.
According to the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office, the victim "made comments" to family members, which led to the investigation by detectives and the subsequent indictment against Land.
Auglaize County MR/DD Superintendent Al Willis said he was instructed by the county prosecutor to release no information to the media about the case. He refused to confirm Land's position with the agency, how long he has worked there, in what capacity and if he remains employed.
Willis did say the agency's policy gives him the ability to hire and fire employees without action from the county MR/DD board. The agency's policy also dictates that employees accused of improper behavior be placed on paid or unpaid leave - at Willis' discretion - until an investigation or a conviction is complete because everyone is considered "innocent until proven guilty," he said.
All employees hired by MR/DD are subject to a complete Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation (BCI&I) screening, which includes fingerprinting and a background check of interviews with former employers, Willis said.
Auglaize County MR/DD operates several facilities for disabled clients including Auglaize Industries, an adult workshop in New Bremen, the ABC Center for preschoolers and several adult homes throughout the county.
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