Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Families to get morgue case update




By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office spoke with 12 families whose dead relatives were photographed — possibly illegally — in the county morgue, all expressed a desire for answers.

        Only one, because of transportation problems, is expected to miss today's 1 p.m. meeting with Prosecutor Mike Allen, at which he will update them on the investigation into Mount Auburn photographer Thomas Condon.

        The photos include those of children adorned with props and at least one of an adult that involves nudity.

        “It's like nothing I've ever seen,” Mr. Allen said Monday. “It's just a strange and unusual case, and a sad one.”

        He said the police investigation could be concluded within seven to 10 days, and “I'd be surprised if no charges are filed.”

        Only one family has talked publicly about the photographs. The others have not yet identified themselves. The family of Adam Richardson said last week the apologies they've received from Mr. Allen and Coroner Carl Parrott are not enough.

        Mr. Condon has not publicly commented. His attorney, H. Louis Sirkin, defended the photographs as art.

        The art issue is a potentially sticky one because one possible charge is abuse of a corpse, which requires that the photographs “offend the sensibilities.”

        But whose? The families'? Or the community as a whole?

        A misdemeanor charge of abuse of a corpse has a maximum penalty of three months in jail. Conviction on a felony count could bring a maximum one-year sentence.

       



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