'I did not sell donor eyes for profit.' Indicted coroner backed up by Kentucky Lions Eye Bank

Scott County coroner John Goble
Scott County coroner John Goble

Scott County Coroner John Goble disputes a grand jury allegation he stole donor eyes and delivered them for personal profit.

“I did not sell donor eyes for profit,” Goble said. The Kentucky Lions Eye Bank seemed to support Goble’s claims releasing a statement that time was critical for surgery and other means of delivering the organs were not available.

The eye bank used Goble for the organ delivery from Lexington to West Virginia and the transplant was successful, the release stated.

“I have a verbal contract with both eye banks, and I transported the corneas between the eye banks,” Goble said. “They only use me if the surgery is the next day and they don’t have another way to deliver the corneas.”

“The Kentucky Lions Eye Bank is saddened and concerned by this story and that it involves the mission of donation,” reads the eye bank’s statement. “The Kentucky Lions Eye Bank is an EBBA accredited eye bank that holds in high regard the integrity of our mission and the stewardship of the gift. The mission of the Kentucky Lions Eye Bank is to restore sight through corneal transplant, ocular research and medical education.

“The Kentucky Eye Bank utilized the services of Mr. John Goble on two occasions when commercial transportation was not feasible due to surgery time constraints. The surgical transplant transported by Mr. Goble did reach its destination and the mission of the Kentucky Lions Eye Bank was fulfilled. The Kentucky Lions Eye Bank will leave the continued investigation to the local and state authorities.”

At the time of the cornea delivery in question, there were two eye banks in Kentucky. In January of this year, the Kentucky Lions Eye Bank in Louisville and the Lexington Lions Eye Bank merged to serve the entire state of Kentucky and portions of West Virginia. The grand jury indictment states that on or around Nov. 15, 2017, Goble committed official misconduct when he used a county-owned vehicle to transport donor eyes from the Kentucky Eye Bank to West Virginia for personal profit.

The official misconduct charge is among six counts returned by a Scott County grand jury as part of of Kentucky State Police investigation. Goble is one of three people with ties to the KSP indicted as part of the investigation. Other charges against Goble include possession of 90 Oxycodone tablets, transporting moonshine in a county-owned vehicle, authorizing monthly payments to a deputy coroner who did not perform any services and receiving guns and ammunition stolen from the KSP armory.

Goble’s arraignment is set for July 2.

Scott County Coroner John Goble speaks about the exhumation of a 96-year-old grave in an attempt to identify the teen buried there.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader