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A Pennsylvania man who bought human remains that were donated to Harvard Medical School pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property on Thursday, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Jeremy L. Pauley, from Thompson, Pennsylvania, admitted that he knowingly purchased stolen body parts and resold many of the remains to others, including at least one person who knew the remains were stolen. Pauley faces up to 15 years in prison.
Pauley allegedly purchased some remains from Cedric Lodge, who worked as the morgue manager for Harvard Medical School’s Anatomical Gift Program.
In June, a Pennsylvanian grand jury alleged Lodge stole organs and other parts of cadavers donated for medical research and indicted Lodge on counts of conspiracy and aiding and abetting interstate transportation of stolen goods.
A month later, affected families filed a class-action lawsuit against Lodge and Harvard University, as well as two other employees of the Anatomical Gift Program, managers Mark F. Cicchetti and Tracey Fay. The lawsuit alleged that Cicchetti and Fay neglected their duties in overseeing the program, though did not accuse them of participation in the thefts themselves. Neither have been criminally indicted.
The lawsuit against Harvard Medical School, Lodge, Cicchetti, and Fay is one of three cases related to the mishandling of human remains.
Along with his wife Denise Lodge, Cedric Lodge allegedly sold human remains to buyers across the country, including Pauley. After organizing sales over the phone and social media, the Lodges shipped human body parts through the mail from their home in New Hampshire to recipients out of state.
The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that in some cases Lodge brought prospective buyers to the morgue to choose from remains.
According to federal prosecutors, Harvard Medical School had no knowledge of Lodge’s actions.
In addition to Lodge, Candace Chapman Scott also allegedly sold human remains to Pauley. Scott, who worked at a mortuary and crematorium in Little Rock, Arkansas, allegedly stole parts of cadavers that were meant to be cremated. After doing so, she sold and shipped the remains to Pauley.
Scott has also been indicted for aiding conspiracy and defrauding her employer in federal court in the District of Arkansas. Scott pleaded not guilty in April.
According to the Associated Press, police investigating Pauley’s home found three five-gallon buckets of body parts, including those from children. Federal and state law enforcement agents also intercepted packages that contained body parts that were addressed to Pauley from Scott.
Pauley then sold many of the remains he bought to other individuals, including Matthew Lampi, Katrina Maclean, and Joshua Taylor, who are charged along with Pauley and pending trial.
Pauley and Lampi exchanged more than $100,000 in online payments buying and selling from each other. Pauley also transferred more than $40,000 to Taylor.
The Lodges, Taylor, Lampi, and Maclean have pleaded not guilty.
Cedric Lodge and David M. Rothstein, Denise Lodge’s attorney, have not previously responded to requests for comment.
Correction: September 12, 2023
A previous of this article incorrectly stated that Jeremy L. Pauley pleaded guilty to purchasing cadavers stolen from the Harvard Medical School’s Anatomical Gifts Program. In fact, Pauley admitted to purchasing stolen body parts, not whole cadavers.
Clarification: September 12, 2023
This article has been updated to clarify that Mark F. Cicchetti and Tracey Fay were not accused of participation in the thefts of human remains and are not facing criminal charges.
—Staff writer Jade Lozada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Ammy M. Yuan can be reached at email@example.com
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