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Harvard Medical School Employee Among 6 Charged With Stealing, Selling Human Body Parts From Morgues

A former Harvard Medical School employee and his wife were among six individuals to be indicted by a federal grand jury on June 14 after allegedly stealing human body remains—including the corpses of two stillborn babies—from both the school and an Arkansas mortuary and selling them to buyers across the country.

Cedric Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, and his wife, Denise Lodge, 63, were indicted on charges of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts, Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, and Mathew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota, were also charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges after prosecutors accused them of purchasing and reselling the stolen human remains.

Jeremy Pauley, 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, was charged separately. Pauley, a body modification artist, was reportedly selling some of the body parts on Facebook.

Another individual, Candace Chapman Scott, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was previously indicted in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Prosecutors claim she stole human remains from an Arkansas mortuary and sold them on to Pauley.

She pleaded not guilty in April to charges related to the theft of body parts.

Buying, Selling Scheme

According to prosecutors, Lodge managed the morgue for the Anatomical Gifts Program at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Lodge’s LinkedIn page states that he has been working as the morgue manager at the school since 1995.

Between 2018 through 2022, Lodge stole organs and other parts of the corpses that had been donated for medical research and education before they were scheduled to be cremated, prosecutors said.

At times, the former Harvard employee would transport the stolen human remains from Boston to his home in Goffstown, according to prosecutors, where he and his wife then sold them to Maclean, Taylor, and others, after making arrangements to do so either by phone or social media.

Additionally, prosecutors allege that Lodge had, on some occasions, allowed Maclean and Taylor to physically enter the morgue at Harvard Medical School and examine the corpses so that they could decide what they wanted to purchase.

In some cases, Taylor transported the stolen remains back to his home in Pennsylvania, prosecutors said, and on some occasions, the Lodges shipped stolen remains to Taylor and others out of state.

After purchasing the human remains from Lodge, Maclean and Taylor then allegedly resold them for profit, including to Pauley.

Pauley, prosecutors said, also bought human remains from Scott, who allegedly stole them from her employer—a Little Rock, Arkansas mortuary and crematorium—before they were cremated. Many of the stolen remains had been donated to an area medical school and were meant to be used for research and educational purposes.

Deny entry international students
Students and pedestrians walk through the Yard at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., on March 10, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Stillborn Babies Among Remains Sold

Among the stolen remains that Scott allegedly sold were the dead bodies of two stillborn babies who were supposed to be cremated and have their remains returned to their families, prosecutors said.

Pauley sold many of the remains he purchased to other individuals, including Lampi. Between them, the two sold and exchanged human remains amounting to over $100,000 in online payments, prosecutors said.

If found guilty, the six individuals face 15 years in prison, an unspecified term of supervised release following imprisonment, and an unspecified fine.

“Some crimes defy understanding,” said U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human. It is particularly egregious that so many of the victims here volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing. For them and their families to be taken advantage of in the name of profit is appalling. With these charges, we are seeking to secure some measure of justice for all these victims.”

Prosecutors also thanked Harvard Medical School for its cooperation in the investigation, noting that the school had also “been a victim” in the case.

The Epoch Times has contacted a lawyer for Taylor for comment.

A lawyer for Scott told The New York Times, “Before we start jumping to conclusions about what was going on with Ms. Scott, we need to let this play out in the court system.”

It is unclear if the other accused individuals have legal representation.

Harvard University
A seal that bears Harvard University’s motto, “Veritas,” the Latin word for “truth,” is seen on Harvard campus in Cambridge, Mass., in Nov. 2012. (File Photo/Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

‘Morally Reprehensible’

In a separate statement on June 14, Harvard Medical School deans George Daley and Edward Hunder said that Lodge’s activities were “morally reprehensible,” noting that investigators believe the morgue manager “acted without the knowledge or cooperation of anyone else at HMS or Harvard.”

The deans said school officials have been examining their own records showing when donor remains were sent to be cremated and when Lodge was on campus to try and determine which donors may have been impacted by the scheme.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus—a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” they said. “The reported incidents are a betrayal of HMS and, most importantly, each of the individuals who altruistically chose to will their bodies to HMS through the Anatomical Gift Program to advance medical education and research.”

“We are so very sorry for the pain this news will cause for our anatomical donors’ families and loved ones, and HMS pledges to engage with them during this deeply distressing time,” the deans added.

The school has since sent out letters notifying next of kin and has established a web page for donor families with more information and resources regarding the buying and selling scheme. Families impacted will also be offered counseling over the phone, according to the school.

Additionally, Harvard University has appointed an “external panel of experts” to evaluate the Anatomical Gift Program and morgue policies and practices to bolster program security.

“We owe it to ourselves, our community, our profession, and our patients and their loved ones to ensure that HMS is worthy of the donors who have entrusted their bodies to us for the advancement of medical education and research,” Daley and Hunder said. “There is nothing more sacred and worthy of our attention and respect.”

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