Families of victims sue over corpse abuse - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Families of victims sue over corpse abuse

Kenneth Douglas (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office) Kenneth Douglas (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

By Brad Underwood bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The families of three murdered women are suing Hamilton County after learning their loved ones were sexually abused inside the Hamilton County Morgue. 

In 2009 the former county morgue worker Kenneth Douglas was convicted of sexually abusing Karen Range, Charlene Appling and Angel Hicks. The three women were murder victims and then abused once in the care of the Hamilton County Morgue between 1982 and 1992.

Now, the victims' families want all parties to be held accountable.

"When the coroner screws up and totally abuses the integrity of your loved ones remains, there is nothing worse," said the Appling family's attorney Al Gerhardstein. "What they want is to make sure that all the facts about this come out, that all the people are thoroughly held accountable.

Right now Douglas is in prison, but that's not enough for the families.

"Bernie Kersker is a defendant, he was a supervisor. He knew about drinking on the job, he knew about drugs on the job, he knew about sex on the job. Frank Cleveland the coroner also knew about these things," said Gerhardstein.

The defendants include Douglas's supervisor Bernard Kersker, former coroner Dr. Frank Cleveland and Hamilton County.

Cleveland is retired and currently lives in Florida.

"I have no idea about any of the allegations in this lawsuit," said Cleveland.

Due to the fact that Cleveland was an elected official, it puts the county and the board of Hamilton County Commissioners.

Current coroner Odell Owens and his staff have nothing to do with this lawsuit. Since Owens took over, cameras, locked doors, proper supervision and other security measures have been put in place.

"The message from this case is more to coroners and medical examiners nationwide that they absolutely need to make sure that all bodies are protected," said Gerhardstein.

The Hamilton County Prosecutors office says it will represent county employees in the lawsuit but at this time they have no officially been notified about the class action suit.

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