By Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writer
FOREST PARK - A prominent doctor challenging Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott said Tuesday that he would bring trust and dignity to a scandal-ridden office.
Parrott, on the other hand, said his expertise in pathology has already brought the office national recognition and past problems won't be repeated.
Dr. O'dell Owens, 57, a fertility expert, and Parrott, 55, sparred Tuesday night during a live debate organized by Waycross Community Media on public access TV.
The coroner's office, typically a low-profile county office, has gotten more attention since the 2001 discovery that artist Thomas Condon was taking photos of posed bodies in the morgue. Parrott denied knowledge of Condon's activities, but the families of those photographed are suing the county for millions of dollars.
"These events happened almost four years ago," Parrott said Tuesday. "We were investigated three ways to Sunday. ... Something like this won't happen again."
Owens shot back: "It's a shame, Dr. Parrott, that it has taken three major lawsuits to get the coroner's office to respond."
Parrott's office has also been sued for removing brains from people's bodies without permission.
Owens, the Democratic candidate, is a member of U.S. Bank's board of directors and a former trustee of the University of Cincinnati.
He is not a pathologist, but the coroner doesn't have to be in Ohio. The job requires a good administrator, not a hands-on expert, Owens said.
"Everyone has a reverence around death and grieving, and this has been lost at the coroner's office under Dr. Parrott," he said.
Parrott, a Republican, worked for former Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Frank Cleveland until Cleveland's 1994 retirement. Parrott was appointed to replace him and has been re-elected twice since.
Elder students pay respects to classmate
Boat-crash driver gets 10 years
Newport officer charged in DUI
Nader booted off Ohio ballot over petitions
Fernald finally opens the pipe
Officer cleared in force charge
Negative buzz from candidates could hurt region
Cost of Bush rally? Amount likely unknowable
Coroner candidates spar
Election 2004 page
IN THE TRISTATE
Wider I-275 stretch starts in 2007
Students vie for scholarships
Man, 32, indicted in fatal car crash
Buchanan, Cuomo to debate at Miami
Jail deal prompts emergency meeting
Fairfield studies citywide smoke ban
Volunteers head to Florida
Lakota students may get shuffled
local news briefs
Mason delays zone change
Family fees going up $75
Voter-card rules cause concern
Miami student charged with rape
Ohio honors 102 schools
Public safety briefs
Mental-health board trims
Judge supports welfare recipients
Businesses pass half-century test
Nancy Haigwood, 69
Imported medicine: A budget healer?
N. Ky. news briefs
Expo is the Homearama of sediment and erosion
Kenton medical debate ongoing
School bus driver gives hunter a ride - 'So?' residents say
Ky. 17 plans near completion