Former Harvard morgue director charged with trafficking in body parts – US prosecutors

By Brad Brooks

(Reuters) – The former director of the Harvard Medical School mortuary was among five people indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday for stealing and selling body parts from corpses donated to the school, federal prosecutors said.

Cedric Lodge, 55, who was fired from his job on May 6, and the other defendants were accused of carrying out a black market body parts scheme from around 2018 to 2022, the office said from the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Pennsylvania in a statement. . One of the defendants lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors said Lodge, who was hired by Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1995, sometimes let potential buyers into the school’s morgue to examine corpses and select pieces for purchase. The buyers primarily resold the body parts, prosecutors said.

A sixth person had already been charged in Arkansas in the same investigation on suspicion of stealing body parts from a morgue she worked for, prosecutors said. Reuters has previously reported abuse in the body trade.

It was not immediately clear whether Lodge, who was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday according to ABC News citing the FBI, or the other defendants, including Lodge’s wife, had legal representation. The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Some crimes defy belief,” U.S. Attorney Gerard Karam said in a statement. “The theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human.”

People whose body parts were sold offered their remains to be used to educate medical professionals, Karam said.

Harvard Medical School cooperated with the investigation, he said.

George Daley, the dean of Harvard Medical School, said in a statement to the school community on Wednesday that “we are appalled to learn that something so disturbing can happen on our campus.”

Daley said Harvard Medical School, which first learned of the allegations in March, was digging through its records, particularly logs showing when donor remains were sent to be cremated and when Lodge was on campus, to try. to determine which parts of the donors’ bodies could have been tampered with.

Harvard’s media relations office said it could not provide more information, citing the criminal investigation.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Donna Bryson and Grant McCool)

Leave a Comment