Paige Johanningmeier and Megan Penney were spotted with the patients outside of the facility in February

By Harriet Sokmensuer
March 09, 2018 06:23 PM
Credit: Fayette County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

Two nursing assistants from an Iowa psychiatric facility are accused of having relationships with their patients, authorities announced Wednesday.

Megan Marie Penney, 26, of Clermont, and 23-year-old Paige Lynn Johanningmeier, of Elgin, were charged with felony charges of sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist or school employee on Tuesday, according to a Fayette County Sheriff’s Office news release obtained by PEOPLE.

The suspects are employees of Prairie View Management Facility in Fayette.

The pair’s alleged relationships were uncovered after an investigation that began when the court-ordered patients were reported missing — and someone reported spotting them with women.

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Credit: Fayette County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

Through their investigation, authorities identified the women as Penney and Johanningmeier, according to the release.

Authorities allege Penney and Johanningmeier developed an emotional relationship with the two patients during the course of their stay at the facility and once they left the facility, the relationship became sexual.

Both patients were later found safe by authorities. One was returned to Praire View while the other was taken to a hospital in Linn County.

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If convicted, the suspects face five years in prison and will be required to register as sex offenders on the national registry for 10 years, the release states.

Penney and Johanningmeier were released the day they were arrested after each woman posted a $2,000 bond.

It is unclear whether either Penney or Johanningmeier has an attorney.