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Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Bremen man pleads guilty to rape of MR/DD client

By Shelley Grieshop
WAPAKONETA - A New Bremen man pleaded guilty Tuesday to raping and sexually molesting a mentally-impaired woman he was employed to supervise.
William E. Land, 25, 32 Meadowview Terrace, confessed in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court to raping a 38-year-old woman, who authorities have described as having the mental capacity of a 7-year-old and the verbal ability of a 4-year-old.
At the time of the sexual assaults, Land was employed as a part-time supervisor for the Auglaize County Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD) agency. MR/DD Superintendent Al Willis was not available this morning to give Land's current employment status or comment.
The rape occurred while Land was supervising the woman and a few other clients of the MR/DD adult work program, who were contracted to clean offices at the Auglaize County Law Enforcement Center.
Land faces a maximum 111/2 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for the first- and fourth-degree felony charges. The rape conviction carries a 10-year mandatory prison term with the possibility of release after three year s.
A date for the sentence hearing was not yet set this morning.
Immediately prior to sentencing, Judge Frederick Pepp le will determine Land's sexual offender classification. If he is dubbed a sexual predator, the most serious classification, he will have to register his address with the local sheriff's office for the rest of his life.
According to details of the case revealed in court Tuesday, Land drove the crew to the center in Wapakoneta on Oct. 4 and the rape and molestation occurred in the locker room. In another incident on July 1, Land sexually molested the same woman after picking her up from a work detail at Taco Bell in St. Marys en route to New Bremen.
Land confessed to both allegations during the initial investigation, Auglaize County Prosecutor Ed Pierce said in court.
"He said he knew it was wrong, he knew her limitations and capabilities," Pierce said.
Land knew the woman was "substantially impaired and was without the capacity to consent or resist to those activities" and took advantage of her as supervisor of the crew, he continued.
The victim reportedly told family members about the assaults against her and they informed authorities who began the investigation. During Tuesday's hearing, Pierce said the woman was able to communicate Land's first name and describe what happened mainly by using hand signs.
Land, who reportedly does not have a criminal record, was indicted in November for two counts each of rape, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition. Four of the charges were dismissed in a plea agreement. between the prosecutor's office and Land's attorney, William Kluge of Lima.
Land sat quietly beside Kluge during the court hearing, responding with a soft "yes sir" and "no sir" to Pepple's stream of questions.
Kluge requested sentencing be delayed so a forensic psychological examination be performed o n Land to help determine his sexual offender classification. Pierce told the judge he was prepared to go to sentencing next week, but Pepple opted to allow time for the psychological examination.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said for a previous story that he hoped the incident at the center would not bring the MR/DD program poor publicity. Solomon praised the adult job program for giving opportunities to handicapped individuals who are currently contracted with various area companies and agencies like the law enforcement center.
Willis told The Daily Standard a complete and thorough background check was performed on Land - as well as all other employees who come in contact with clients - before he was hired by the MR/DD board.
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