Update: Fired Medical Examiner Enters No Contest Plea to Miscond - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Update: Fired Medical Examiner Enters No Contest Plea to Misconduct

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WILMINGTON, Del. (WBOC/AP) - Delaware's former chief medical examiner entered a no contest plea Thursday afternoon to misdemeanor charges of official misconduct for misusing state resources in running a private consulting business, authorities say.

According to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn's office, Dr. Richard Callery agreed to accept responsibility and entered the plea in New Castle County Superior Court Thursday. Denn says the charges against Callery carry a potential penalty of up to one year in prison for each count, for a possible total of two years in prison. Denn says the plea also requires that Callery repay the state $100,000 in restitution and surrender his medical license for any period while he is under court supervision.


Authorities say Callery will be sentenced on September 11, 2015.


Dan Lyons, an attorney representing Callery, did not immediately return an email message seeking comment Thursday. Callery's wife said by phone that her husband was not available.


Authorities investigating the evidence-tampering scandal say Callery was frequently absent from his office. The scandal resulted in the arrests of two state employees and prompted dismissals or plea bargains in scores of drug cases. It also led lawmakers to abolish Callery's office and replace it with a new Division of Forensic Science under the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.


According to prosecutors, Callery worked part time as an assistant medical examiner while in private practice from 1991 to 1994 before being appointed chief medical examiner in 1997. He was reappointed in 2007. Grubb said Callery's continued and open private employment and the allowance of compensatory time by the Department of Health and Social Services provided a foundation for Callery to expand his private practice and ultimately led to the misuse of state resources from 2010 to 2013.


Grubb said Callery acknowledged that he maintained a private consulting business while serving as chief medical examiner, even reporting his outside work to the Public Integrity Commission. The investigation also revealed that Callery "had informed his supervisors in general terms of his intention to engage in these private endeavors."


Jill Fredel, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversaw the former medical examiner's office, did not immediately return a voice mail seeking comment Wednesday evening.


According to Grubb, Callery claimed that DHSS administrators allowed him to use the secondary autopsy room in the medical examiner's office to conduct his private work, and that he told a secretary to deduct regular work day hours that were devoted to his private practice from his accrued comp time.


"DHSS administrators approved Callery's accrual of comp time; however, the records of accrual and usage of this time were not well maintained. The evidence established that Callery failed to properly segregate his personal and professional business," Grubb wrote.


Authorities say Callery's misuse of state resources included using his state email account, phone number and vehicle for private business, mailing specimens and documents from his office, using a conference room for private depositions and meetings with clients, and enlisting the help of state employees for his private business.


"Meanwhile, the autopsy rooms were regularly used to conduct private autopsies, the histology lab was used to prepare private specimens, and the storage facility was used as a repository for private case files," Grubb wrote.

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