Rimer complaints drew no agency interventions

One Rimer son told her about his father calling him the devil and spanking him so hard he couldn’t sit.

He told her about getting two slices of bread and water for dinner when he didn’t do his chores. Sometimes, he told her, the Rimer children went to bed without any dinner at all.

Despite concerns about what she heard, Traci Washington, then a case worker for Clark County’s Child Protective Services, closed the case on a supervisor’s order, according to grand jury transcripts obtained late Friday by the Review-Journal.

She testified she felt "somewhat uncomfortable" with the decision in early 2007.

"Clearly it appears that there is some type of abuse, either emotional or he’s borderline abusive in the sense that he does just enough, you know, he’s not starving the kids," she told the grand jury about the father, Stanley Rimer. "He gives them water and milk. And there appeared to be some emotional abuse."

Sixteen months later, the youngest and most vulnerable child in the family, Jason Rimer, died after being left in a sport utility vehicle for 17 hours. The June 9 death of the 4-year-old, who had a genetic disease that crippled his body and his mind, led to the grand jury that indicted Stanley Rimer and his wife, Colleen, last month on charges including second-degree murder and child neglect of their four other minor children, ages 9 to 15.

The children lived in a filthy home littered with animal feces, had head lice and were provided with minimal food, according to the indictment.

The couple pleaded not guilty to the charges, and their lawyers could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Washington’s investigation was the last contact county child welfare workers had with the Rimer family before Jason’s death. Child Protective Services had received 20 prior complaints involving the family. All but two of the cases were unsubstantiated, and the last substantiated case came in 1991, for a lack of supervision.

Jason was born with myotonic dystrophy, a genetic disorder that attacks muscles and other body systems and hinders brain development in children. Jason had been walking for only six months and functioned at a 2-year-old level.

In December 2004, Child Protective Services opened its first case involving Jason after his developmental therapist called about Colleen Rimer improperly feeding her infant son.

Because of his muscular weakness, Jason ate through a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. But his mother fed him with a bottle, which could lead to malnourishment or aspiration of his food into his lungs, according to grand jury transcripts.

Case worker Tiffany Wedlow visited the Rimer home in northeast Las Vegas several times in the next few months to check on Jason and discuss proper feeding with his mother, she told the grand jury.

During her investigation, the agency received a complaint from Walter Hanna, a special education teacher at Keller Middle School. He had called Child Protective Services because the Rimer son in his class was infested with lice so bad that the school nurse had to pick the bugs off his face with tweezers, he told the grand jury.

When Wedlow talked to the child at school the next day, she found no lice, she testified. The boy told her his mother had given him two lice treatments the day before, she said.

When Wedlow visited the house in March 2005, Stanley Rimer confronted her.

"He was upset that we were still involved and wanted to know why was the case still open," Wedlow testified. "He felt that it was a conspiracy and that I was holding the case open for personal reasons."

Wedlow closed the case in June 2005 after collaborating with other service providers, including Jason’s doctor, who said he was gaining weight, she said.

She saw no bruises on the boy or other signs of abuse, she said.

Three months later, Child Protective Services opened a new case involving the Rimers involving the child who had lice. The complaint involved allegations that he was not being fed properly and had poor hygiene.

Case worker Thandie Martin Bernal visited the home and talked to the boy and his older brother at the front door while waiting for their parents to return, she testified.

The boy denied the allegations and said he did take lunch to school, she said.

"He yelled at me that, you know, I do eat. He was upset that I was there," she testified.

When the parents arrived about 20 minutes later, Stanley Rimer confronted Bernal.

"He was angry with me for being there," she said. "He made comments about CPS harassing him. He questioned my qualifications."

Stanley Rimer refused to let Bernal into his house or talk to his children alone.

"I did not interview each child as I would normally conduct an investigation because the father wouldn’t allow it," she testified.

Based on her front door interview and observations of the boy, she closed the case in December 2005 after consulting with a supervisor.

"It did not appear that his care rose to the level of neglect substantial enough for our agency to intervene," Bernal told the grand jury. She went on to testify about the boy’s "own admission that he ate breakfast at home, took lunch to school and was fine and was rather upset that our agency was at his home questioning his care."

When a juror asked Bernal what criteria she used to close the case, she replied, "Things change often so I don’t know exactly which criteria we were using at that time."

Seven months later, a new complaint came to Child Protective Services involving neglect and physical abuse of the Rimer’s teenage daughter.

When case worker Brad Coffey visited the house in July 2006, Stanley Rimer told him the daughter had run away and was in a relationship that he didn’t approve of.

Stanley Rimer allowed Coffey only into the home’s foyer, and he didn’t let the worker talk to the children alone about how they were disciplined, including whether their father withheld food as punishment, Coffey testified.

"I asked them what happens when they get in trouble," Coffey said. "Whatever I was told was, you know, it wasn’t really credible. He would be standing right there."

Stanley Rimer and the children denied the allegations.

On a follow up visit, Stanley Rimer got angry at Coffey.

"The general tone was that we really had no right to be doing what we were doing, we were violating his rights," Coffey said.

The case was eventually closed, even though Coffey never talked to the daughter about the physical abuse allegations involving her, he testified.

The last case Child Protective Services received before Jason died came in February 2007.

Washington visited the home, but as in previous cases, Stanley Rimer did not allow her to talk with his children outside his presence.

He denied he spanked his children on bare buttocks, but he did admit to giving them only two pieces of bread and milk as punishment if they didn’t do their chores or misbehaved, Washington testified.

"He was adamant that he was going to do what he wanted to do, and I think that’s when he really got upset," she said.

A couple of weeks later, Washington talked to one of the Rimers’ sons at his elementary school after her supervisors said her investigation at the house was unacceptable. The boy, now 9, told her his parents sometimes did not cook for the children and left them to fend for themselves to find dinner.

She also interviewed an older son, now 14, at his school. He told her his dad called him the devil, his mom called him a derogatory name, and at times his father spanked him so hard that he couldn’t sit, Washington said.

The school visits prompted an irate Stanley Rimer to call her supervisors, she said.

In a follow-up visit at the Rimer house, Washington explained child abuse laws to the parents and what was appropriate discipline, then she closed the case after consulting with her supervisor.

A juror asked her what the criteria were for closing a case when a family doesn’t follow her recommendations.

"It wasn’t clear with CPS. You know, I don’t know," Washington replied. "Basically I spoke to a supervisor who told me how to close it and when to close it, and I closed it."

Christine Skorupski, spokeswoman for the Department of Family Services, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

But in a recent court hearing, she said that the department finished an internal case audit for Jason’s death the first week of July.

The audit, routinely performed whenever a child dies, will not be made public because it contains sensitive case information about the family, she said.

Skorupski wouldn’t say at the hearing whether the audit prompted any policy changes at the department. But she said the department, because of broad policy reviews, is changing the way it handles multiple complaints about a family.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281. Contact reporter David Kihara at dkihara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

ad-high_impact_4
News
President Donald Trump speaks at White House ceremony for French president
President Donald Trump speaks during a welcome ceremony for French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at White House ceremony
President Emmanuel Macron speaks at Tuesday ceremony welcoming the French leader and his wife to the White House. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Toronto Attack Suspect Charged in Van Attack
Toronto Attack Suspect Charged in Van Attack According to the Associated Press, 25-year-old Alek Minassian was charged with 10 counts of 1st degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Minassian appeared in court Tuesday morning after mowing down and killing 10 people in a rented van Monday in downtown Toronto. 15 others were also injured in the attack. Authorities have not announced a motive. “As was indicated last night by our public security minister, at this time we have no reason to suspect that there is any national security element to this attack, but obviously the investigations continue.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
9 Dead and at Least 16 Injured as Van Hits Pedestrians in Toronto
9 Dead and at Least 16 Injured as Van Hits Pedestrians in Toronto The driver of the van is now in custody after climbing the curb and plowing through crowds of people. Witnesses describe a scene of chaos as the trail stretched about one mile before coming to a stop. Witness, via CTV Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made initial statements after learning of the incident. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
High School Senior Wins Writing Scholarship
Kye "Kai" Catarata was presented with a $1,000 scholarship at the Las Vegas Writer's Conference Saturday at the Tuscany Suites and Casino.
It's a Boy! Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Third Child
It's a Boy! Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Third Child Kensington Palace announced that Prince William and Princess Kate traveled by car to the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in central London Monday. The child was born at 11:01 a.m. local time, weighing 8lbs 7oz. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well. Kensington Palace The new addition will be fifth in line to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II's sixth great-grandchild and third grandchild of Charles, Prince of Wales. Catherine and Harry married in 2011 and have two other children, Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, who turns 3 next month.
Dr. Abbatangelo: Professor, Pageant Queen and Animal Dentist
Dr. Tina M. Abbatangelo, a professor of clinical practice at UNLV dentist school spends her free time and money traveling across the country to help treat exotic animals.
Joseph Otting, U.S. comptroller of the currency during an interview with RJ
Joseph Otting, U.S. comptroller of the currency during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Otting oversees all national banks, credit unions, mutual savings banks, coops and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Paris Wade discusses about his “Liberty Writers” website
Paris Wade, who made national headlines for operating a fake news website and boasts about getting President Donald Trump elected in 2016, speaks during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Wade is running for Nevada Assembly. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers.
Las Vegas Metro police and Henderson police officers ride their bikes during the Vegas Team's last practice rides in preparation for the Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal @bizutesfaye
UNLV students walk out of class on national walkout day
UNLV students and supporters chanted, marched and rallied on national walkout day Friday, April 20 on the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Captain Sasha Larkin Discusses Challenges, Progress in North West
Captain Sasha Larkin, of Metro's Northwest Area Command, discusses what issues face the northwest valley's residents and what police are doing to address them.
Southwest giving passengers on deadly flight $5,000 for compensation
Passengers on Flight 1380 have been receiving checks as a gesture of goodwill from the airline.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Artist, Community Paint Winchester Skate Park
Andrew Schoultz, a Los Angeles-based artist with an upcoming exhibit at UNLV's Barrick Museum, painted the skate park at Winchester Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like