- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - Families suing officials in a county where a morgue attendant sexually abused three female corpses say jurors in the upcoming trial should be allowed to hear testimony that the attendant admitted to abusing more than 100 bodies.

The families responded Tuesday to Hamilton County’s request that a U.S. District Judge in Cincinnati exclude testimony about Kenneth Douglas’ abuse of corpses other than the three women whose families are suing, according to court documents. County attorneys have argued that testimony about other corpse abuse could confuse and prejudice jurors asked to determine whether county officials were negligent in supervising Douglas.

Douglas was convicted in 2009 of gross abuse of a corpse. He admitted having intercourse, while drunk and high on drugs, with the bodies of the three women whose families are suing, according to court records. The first case dated to the 1982 stabbing death of 19-year-old Karen Sue Range. The corpse abuse was discovered 25 years later after authorities conducted DNA testing for a court appeal in the Range slaying case and found that semen in her body was a match for Douglas.

Attorney for the families of Range and the other women argue that testimony about other corpse abuse should be allowed because the number of cases shows that Douglas “was able to commit abuse at the morgue with relative impunity.”

County attorneys have argued that Douglas’ “uncorroborated” admission that he performed sex acts on corpses perhaps a hundred times is not proof of supervisors’ knowledge.

“Introduction of this evidence may lure the jury into considering this evidence improperly or giving it improper weight,” county attorneys said in court filings.

The judge hasn’t indicated when he will rule.

The families are seeking unspecified damages in their lawsuit scheduled for trial Feb. 23.

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