Along with three other individuals, the manager of the mortuary at Harvard Medical School has been charged with buying and selling stolen human remains.
According to the allegations, Cedric Lodge removed “heads, brains, skin, and bones” from cadavers that were donated to the medical school at Harvard University and then sold them online.
He and his wife, Denise, are accused of selling body parts to customers in the states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, as stated in the indictment.
Harvard morgue manager charged with selling body parts
The scam allegedly took place between the years 2018 and 2021.
The prosecution claims that Mr. Lodge exploited his position as the manager of the “Anatomical Gifts Programme” at Harvard Medical School to dismember cadavers that were given to the school for the sake of medical research.
Students at Harvard University learn and practise medical procedures on bodies that have been donated by the community. According to the indictment, once the university has finished using a cadaver, it is common practise to cremate the body and return the ashes to the family. Alternatively, the cadaver may be interred in the institution’s medical cemetery.
It is alleged that Mr. Lodge and his wife harvested, sold, and shipped body parts taken from cadavers that had been provided to them instead.
According to a statement released by the United States Attorney’s Office, Cedric Lodge ‘at times permitted [others] to access the mortuary at Harvard Medical School and examine cadavers to determine what to purchase’.
Katrina Maclean, who resides in Salem, Massachusetts, and Joshua Taylor, who resides in West Lawn, Pennsylvania, are suspected of purchasing body parts.
According to the criminal document, Ms. Maclean allegedly made a purchase of dissected faces in October 2020 for the sum of $600 (or £473), with the intention of having the faces tanned into leather.
Kat’s Creepy Creations is the name of the business that Ms. Maclean owns and operates. She specialised in transforming gothic, blood-soaked, and horror novelties out of dolls, as seen by the social media profiles associated with the company.
It is not known whether or not the products that she sold contained corpse parts. According to the indictment, she operated the business as a place to store and sell human remains.
Over the course of four years, Mr. Taylor is said to have made 39 electronic payments to Ms. Lodge for stolen body parts, bringing the total amount to more than $37,000 (£29,226). An ominous reference to a PayPal message for a purchase of $1,000 (£790) that purportedly read “head number 7” was included in the indictment.
“Some crimes defy understanding,” United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam said in a statement. Theft and trafficking of human remains go against the fundamental nature of being human and strike at the heart of our humanity.
Cedric and Denise Lodge decided not to respond to any questions from the media following their initial court appearance on Wednesday at a federal courthouse in New Hampshire.
Indictments have been handed down against all four defendants on accusations of conspiracy and transporting stolen property across state lines. They each risk a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if they are found guilty.