A job posting referencing Maine’s “short season of decomposed bodies” has intensified scrutiny of the state’s chief medical examiner, who recently came under review by the Attorney General’s Office following a lawmaker’s complaint.

Maine’s chief medical examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, who has served as the chief medical examiner since 2013, also came under scrutiny this year when he made a last-minute change to an autopsy report, prompting a mistrial in a Windham man’s murder trial.

In March, following a complaint by Rep. Jeff Evangelos, an independent from Friendship, the Maine Attorney General’s Office launched a review of the chief medical examiner’s credibility and his side business, a forensic pathology consulting firm.

Evangelos has since filed additional complaints against Flomenbaum, including one Thursday that alleges an inappropriate job posting from 2017 made light of the work of forensic pathologists.

The Medical Examiner’s Office declined to comment Friday when asked about the latest complaint.

Marc Malon, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, did not respond to requests for comment.

Evangelos said the Attorney General’s Office had confirmed the job posting was legitimate.

“Maine has a unique combination of factors that make it an ideal environment for the collaborative, solidly trained forensic pathologist,” the job posting says.

The posting goes on to say Maine’s winters mean there is a “really short season for decomposed bodies” and the vast coastline means “many bodies are lost at sea or end up in either New Hampshire or Canada.”

It also says Maine’s small population of about 1.3 million people means “only the bodies that really need to come in for autopsies will do so.”

Evangelos, in an email to Attorney General Aaron Frey that he shared with the Press Herald, said the ad is “beyond sick and makes jokes and light about deceased Mainers, whose families are left bereft of any dignity.”

Evangelos also has raised concerns about findings in a Bangor Daily News story that challenged the medical examiner’s determination that alcoholism had contributed to the death of a Massachusetts hiker.

Scott Ogden, a spokesman for Gov. Janet Mills, said Friday that the governor “has a great deal of respect for and confidence in Dr. Flomenbaum and his office.”

Last year, the National Association of Medical Examiners granted the Maine office full accreditation and cited it as one of the best medical examiner offices in the country. Ogden said that marked a “major turnaround and accomplishment for the office after years of struggling with a backlog of cases.”

Evangelos said he first filed a complaint about Flomenbaum after reading an article in the Portland Press Herald that noted Flomenbaum had answered the phone for his private consulting firm during business hours for his full-time job as medical examiner.

The lawmaker was further concerned after learning of a Connecticut court case in which Flomenbaum acted as an expert witness in 2016. The judge in the case ruled that Flomenbaum’s testimony was not credible and the state’s attorney also wrote to Mills, who was Maine’s attorney general at the time, advising her of the finding.

As a member of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Evangelos said it is incumbent upon him and other lawmakers to hold law enforcement and other officials, including the medical examiner, accountable, which is why he has decided to pursue complaints against Flomenbaum. He said the review with the Attorney General’s Office is pending.

“My job when I see something like this is to bring it to the appropriate authorities,” Evangelos said. “My job is oversight. When I see something wrong I have to say, ‘Hey, this doesn’t look right.'”

The complaint Thursday follows the controversy that surrounded Flomenbaum after he changed an autopsy report in February, causing a mistrial for the Windham man charged with murder and manslaughter in his wife’s shooting death.

A second trial was held and the defendant, Noah Gaston, was found guilty of murder Friday. The change in the autopsy report, which was cited as a crucial piece of evidence in the first trial, played a minimal role in the second trial and barely came up.

Before coming to Maine, Flomenbaum was the chief medical examiner in Massachusetts. He was fired in 2007 after a scandal involving a missing body and a report by an independent consultant that found a lack of oversight in Flomenbaum’s office.

 

 

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: