San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore responded today to stunning accusations of "retaliatory behavior and arrogant expectations" by his staff pathologist Dr. Susan Parson.
"I can't speak to retaliatory behavior because I don't know anything about what she means or what she is speaking of or what manner,” Moore said. “As far as arrogant behavior, I don't understand that either. However, I am the coroner and I am the elected coroner in this county. This is not a medical examiner's office. Therefore, I am in charge and I am responsible," said Moore.
On Tuesday, in a scathing two-page resignation letter addressed to the San Joaquin County Administrator, Dr. Parson accused the sheriff of creating an "untenable" work environment and trying to "control and influence our professional judgement."
"Absolutely not. I would never want to do that. They're responsibility as a forensic pathologist is to establish the medical cause of death for those cases that are coroner's cases,” Moore said. “After that, based on the totality of the circumstances of the investigation than I as coroner pursuant to the law am required to make a finding on the manner of death.”
Dr. Parson says in her letter she has given the county a three-month notice, beginning Nov. 27 and ending February 25, 2018, as required by her contract.
"I have always valued Dr. Parson's work. To my recollection I have never even spoken to her about any of her cases, under any circumstances," Moore said.