A man has admitted selling human body parts which were stolen from Harvard Medical School and a mortuary in Arkansas.
Jeremy Pauley, from Thompson, Pennsylvania, is among seven people who were charged in the case in June.
Pauley has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
He now faces up to 15 years in prison but it is not yet known if a sentencing date has been scheduled.
Pauley admitted he bought human remains from multiple people, knowing the remains were stolen, and also admitted to selling many of the stolen remains to others, including at least one person who also knew they had been stolen.
One of the defendants, Cedric Lodge, from Goffstown, New Hampshire, is accused of stealing dissected parts of corpses that were donated to Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.
Lodge, 55, was the manager of the morgue at the time of the alleged offences.
The body parts were taken without the school’s knowledge or permission, authorities have said.
They added that the school has cooperated with the investigation.
Lodge sometimes took the body parts – which included heads, brains, skin and bones – back to his home while some remains were sent to buyers through the mail, authorities allege.
He also allegedly allowed buyers to visit the morgue to pick what remains they wanted to buy.
Lodge’s wife, Denise, 63, also faces charges in connection with the case.
Both Lodge and his wife declined to comment on the charges during an initial court appearance in June.
The couple and the other four people charged are all awaiting trial.
According to prosecutors, the defendants were part of a nationwide network of people who bought and sold remains stolen from the school and an Arkansas mortuary.
Bodies donated to Harvard Medical School are used for education, teaching or research purposes.
Once they are no longer needed, the corpses are usually cremated and the ashes are returned to the donor’s family or buried in a cemetery.