One story after another has shown poorly on the state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Mark Flomenbaum. Gov. Janet Mills, who oversaw Flomenbaum while attorney general, says she has a “great deal of respect for and confidence in” him.

We need to hear more, because Flomenbaum has not had the kind of year that inspires confidence.

He first made news in February, when he asked at the last possible moment to change his findings regarding the angle of the fatal shot in the death of Alicia Gaston of Windham, leading to a mistrial. (Noah Gaston was found guilty of his wife’s murder in a subsequent trial that concluded last week.)

Shortly after, Rep. Jeff Evangelos, I-Friendship, filed a complaint regarding Flomenbaum’s work as a private consultant. The attorney general’s office is now reviewing the complaint.

Evangelos wanted to know whether the side gig — a common practice in the industry, according to the National Association of Medical Examiners — was getting in the way of his public duties in Maine.

He was also rightly concerned about the impact on Maine cases of Flomenbaum’s role in a child murder trial in Connecticut. In that trial, a judge ruled that Flomenbaum, an expert witness for the defense, was not credible.

And while taking heat for a recently resurfaced job posting from his office that made inappropriate jokes about the dead bodies he’s supposed to be handling with care and dignity, Flomenbaum this month was forced to amend his findings on the autopsy of Jeffrey Aylward, a 63-year-old Massachusetts man who died on the Appalachian Trail in Maine last summer.

Flomenbaum originally stated that alcoholism or alcohol consumption contributed to Aylward’s death. His family, however, said that Aylward, a diabetic, hadn’t drank in years, and two outside experts later said the medical examiner did not account for alcohol produced by the body as a result of decay.

This is not the first time that Flomenbaum’s actions have been called into question. After a well-regarded time as the No. 2 medical examiner in New York City, he was brought to Massachusetts in 2005 to take over the troubled department there. Two years later, he was fired after a months-long investigation that concluded the department was on the “verge of collapse.

Flomenbaum came to Maine in 2013 as deputy medical examiner, and he was elevated to the top job the next year. Last year, his office was fully accredited and named one of the best in the country by the medical examiner’s association. Credibility problems stemming from the Connecticut case or the mistrial have not been an issue in any other cases.

But the missteps of that past year cannot be ignored. We await the findings of the review of Evangelos’ complaint by the attorney general’s office. After the year Flomenbaum just had, the office certainly has a lot to look into.


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