County Official Arrested

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

The Rock County coroner faces theft and drug related charges. Sixty-year-old Karen Gilbertson was arrested at her home Tuesday night.

The arrest comes after investigators executed a search warrant in her office.

Sixty-year-old coroner Karen Gilbertson is accused of stealing medication from the scenes of death investigations and distributing them to others.

"It comes as a surprise to us, but we have to do our job no matter who it is," says Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary.

Gilbertson was arrested at her home Tuesday night and taken to the Rock County Jail. According to the Janesville Gazette, a co-worker says Gilbertson offered her drugs several times, including morphine. Other reports indicate she also may have pocketed cremation fees from funeral homes.

"Obviously felony charges are serious and the issue of a county elected official, she is still elected as the county coroner and therefore has the duties, responsibilities as that position, and the only one who can remove an elected official, specifically a coroner, is the governor," says O’Leary.

The process could take a while, so in the meantime, O'Leary will work with the sheriff's department and county administrator to find a temporary replacement.

"We do have requests for mutual assistance to neighboring counties and coroner's office in those counties will be helping us," says O’Leary.

Gilbertson has been released from jail and will appear before a Rock County judge January 24.

Gilbertson has been the Rock County coroner since 1995. She was just sworn in last week to serve another term.


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