Groundskeeper, attorney general respond to St. Stephens complaints

Family members angry over state of local cemetery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The groundskeeper of St. Stephens Cemetery in Louisville is responding to complaints about the condition of the grounds.

WHAS11 started looking into the complaints Saturday after receiving several calls suggesting portions of the cemetery grounds were in disrepair. We found large piles of soil, dirt-covered graves, and several damaged or misplaced headstones.  

The cemetery is located on South Preston Street in the Meriwether neighborhood.

The groundskeeper, who identified herself only as Barbara, responded to WHAS11’s story on Monday, saying recent rainfall played a major role in the damaged grounds. She said she moved “some” headstones to keep them from falling into the graves.

Barbara said preparing for two funerals in the last week, paired with the rain, made for a “difficult situation.”

Barbara admitted she was not happy with how the cemetery looked, assuring that she typically keeps the cemetery in “good condition”

When asked if she believed the cemetery’s present condition was acceptable, the groundskeeper said, “If they understand why it’s like this – yes.”

The woman declined to do an on-camera interview about the complaints.

Dozens of people whose loved ones are buried in St. Stephens Cemetery came to the cemetery Monday morning in search of answers. Some could be seen wiping tears from their eyes as they assessed the state of their loved ones’ graves.

“You think they’re resting in peace and they’re not,” Melissa Coomer, who came to St. Stephens to check on her family members’ graves after a friend alerted her to the damaged grounds, said.

She found her grandfather’s grave covered in dirt and fought back tears as she used her bare hands to remove the dirt and mud.

“This is a disgrace,” Coomer said, her voice full of emotion. “The people that take care of this place need to really be prosecuted.”

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear confirmed in a statement that his office was looking into the situation.

”We are aware of this serious situation and are actively investigating consumer complaints […] Our relatives who have passed on should have their resting places treated with respect,” Beshear said.

Beshear is asking anyone whose loved ones have been impacted to contact his office at 502-696-5341.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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