Judge: Ohio coroner facing lawsuits can keep job

GEORGETOWN, Ohio (AP) — A judge has ruled that a southern Ohio coroner accused of mishandling death scenes and abandoning evidence can remain in her position.

Judge John Webster Kessler on Monday ruled that Judith Varnau (VAR'-noh) can remain as coroner in Brown County, about 40 miles southeast of Cincinnati.

Kessler says plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking Varnau's removal from office didn't provide "clear and convincing evidence" that she committed violations to merit that.

A Mt. Orab couple sued in April. They accuse Varnau of declaring their son's death a suicide too quickly and making investigative mistakes that will prevent them from ever knowing the truth. The suit was accompanied by a petition signed by 2,300 county residents calling for Varnau's removal.

Varnau denied mishandling investigations. She says she works cases professionally.

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