Updated Jun 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Harvard Medical School morgue manager accused of selling body parts

An unnamed Harvard Medical School campus.

Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

A former Harvard Medical School morgue manager has been accused of stealing and selling body parts donated to the institution as part of a nationwide scheme from 2018 through 2022, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Cedric Lodge, 55, and his wife, Denise Lodge, 63, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, were indicted with several others by a federal jury in Pennsylvania and face charges of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods, per a Justice Department statement, which said the school was a victim in the case.

A screenshot of a Harvard Medical School tweet saying: "“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others."
Photo: Harvard Medical School/Twitter
  • Lodge, who managed the morgue for the anatomical gifts program at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, allegedly stole organs and other body parts "donated for medical research and education before their scheduled cremations," per the statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Zoom in: He's accused of sometimes taking stolen remains from Boston to his home, where he and his wife allegedly sold them to co-accused Katrina Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts, and Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, "making arrangements via cellular telephone and social media websites."

  • Jeremy Pauley, age 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, was charged separately and Candace Chapman Scott, 36, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was previously indicted in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Scott pleaded not guilty in April to charges related to the theft of body parts.
  • Maclean and Taylor are accused of reselling the stolen remains for profit, including to Pauley, whom prosecutors said bought stolen human remains from Scott that she allegedly stole from her employer, a Little Rock mortuary and crematorium. 

Of note: "Scott stole parts of cadavers she was supposed to have cremated, many of which had been donated to and used for research and educational purposes by an area medical school, as well as the corpses of two stillborn babies who were supposed to be cremated and returned as cremains to their families," prosecutors alleged in the statement.

  • Scott and Pauley, who's accused of selling many of these on to other individuals, allegedly "bought and sold from each other over an extended period of time and exchanged over $100,000 in online payment," according to prosecutors.

What they're saying: George Daley, dean of the faculty of medicine, and Edward Hundert, dean for medical education, in a Harvard Medical School statement called the alleged incidents an "abhorrent betrayal" and "morally reprehensible."

  • Gerard Karam, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said in a statement that some crimes "defy understanding" and the "theft and trafficking of human remains strikes at the very essence of what makes us human."
  • Those accused in the case could not immediately be reached for comment, but Scott's lawyer George Morledge 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."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Gerard Karam, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and lawyer George Morledge.

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