Board: Funeral director forged medical examiner’s signature for cremations

By: - September 28, 2021 9:30 am

The Iowa Board of Mortuary Science has indefinitely suspended the license of a Norwalk funeral director accused of using methamphetamine. (Photo by Rhodi Lopez via Unsplash)

An Iowa funeral director accused of repeatedly forging the signature of a county medical examiner in order to cremate the remains of individuals has agreed to surrender his license.

The Iowa Board of Mortuary Science records indicate that on at least five occasions William “Bill” Jorgensen forged the signature of a county medical examiner on cremation permits. As a result, the individuals’ remains were cremated without the required knowledge or approval of the county medical examiner.

The board also alleges that Jorgensen is guilty of habitual intoxication which adversely affects his ability to safely and competently practice mortuary science. According to the board, Jorgensen has agreed to voluntarily surrender his license for at least one year.

Jorgensen is listed as the funeral director for the Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home in Humboldt County.

In other recent actions, the board indefinitely suspended the license of a Norwalk funeral director accused of using methamphetamine.

In March, the board alleged that in 2019, Eric O’Leary, the owner of Norwalk’s O’Leary Funeral and Cremation Services, had pleaded guilty to felony drug charges.

The board says that in 2020, O’Leary entered into a contract with the Impaired Practitioner Review Committee, agreeing to participate in a chemical screening program and agreeing to abstain from using any non-prescribed drugs or alcohol. Subsequently, he twice tested positive for methamphetamine, the board alleges.

Court records indicate that in 2019, O’Leary was arrested and charged with the felony offenses of manufacturing or delivery of methamphetamine and staging gatherings where controlled substances are unlawfully used. The former charge was dismissed and the latter charge resulted in a conviction based on a search of O’Leary’s home that uncovered methamphetamine and related supplies.

The board has ordered that O’Leary can only apply for reinstatement of his license after 12 continuous months of sobriety. If his license is reinstated at that time, it will be subject to three years’ probationary status.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.