Friday, January 19, 2001

Coroner inquiry proceeds

Worker suspended in photo incident

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An employee at the Hamilton County Coroner's office was suspended this week as part of an investigation into unauthorized photos taken at the morgue.

        The employee, who has not been identified, was suspended indefinitely with pay, say sources close to the investigation. The sources said the employee holds a “medical position” at the coroner's office but would not elaborate.

        Coroner Carl Parrott would not confirm the suspension, and Prosecutor Mike Allen declined comment.

        The employee's attorney, Marc Mezibov, confirmed his client — whom he would not identify — had been suspended but said he would fight it.

        Mr. Mezibov said he did not know details about the case or why his client had been suspended.

        Lynn Preuth of the county's personnel department said his office had not received word of any suspension.

        Vice officers continued Thursday to investigate Mount Auburn photographer Thomas Condon, the man who allegedly took pictures of corpses in various stages of autopsy, posed with objects such as shells, sheets of music and an Alice in Wonderland book.

        Investigators learned of the photographs last week from a film-processing company employee.

        Dr. Parrott has said Mr. Condon was allowed into the morgue because he was preparing to do a documentary video on a procedure, but that the man should not have had unlimited access.

        Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune said Thursday two things need to happen: The coroner should work with citizens to determine whether their loved ones were photographed, and security needs to be tightened.

       Dan Horn and Dan Klepal contributed to this report.


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