National News from ABC

Harvard Medical School morgue manager accused of stealing, selling human remains

Sergi Reboredo/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

(BOSTON) — Five people, including a former Harvard Medical School morgue manager, face federal charges after allegedly conspiring to steal and sell body parts from cadavers donated to the institution.


A federal grand jury indicted Cedric Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, who managed the morgue for the Anatomical Gifts Program at Harvard Medical School, with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges for allegedly transporting and selling the human remains across multiple states between 2018 and 2022.

Cedric Lodge’s wife, Denise Lodge, 63, and two others — Katrina Maclean. 44, of Salem, Massachusetts, and Joshua Taylor, 46, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania — were also indicted on the same charges as part of an alleged conspiracy to “profit from the interstate shipment, purchase, and sale of stolen human remains,” the indictment stated. They are not affiliated with Harvard, school officials said.

A fifth man — Jeremy Pauley, 41, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania — was also charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges for allegedly purchasing and then selling human remains stolen from two medical schools, including Harvard’s. He is also not affiliated with Harvard, school officials said.

Harvard officials called the alleged activities an “abhorrent betrayal” and “morally reprehensible” in a statement on Wednesday, noting that investigators believe Cedric Lodge acted “without the knowledge or cooperation of anyone else” at the institution.

The court documents, filed this week in the United States District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, lay out an unsettling scheme involving the alleged theft and sale of human body parts — including brains, faces and skin — in multiple states, with transactions totaling in the tens of thousands of dollars.

While employed as morgue manager at the Boston medical school, Cedric Lodge had access to the morgue and the donated cadavers, according to his indictment. He allegedly stole dissected portions of donated cadavers, including heads, brains, skin and bones, from the morgue and transported them to his home in New Hampshire, the indictment said. He also allegedly used his access to let Maclean and Taylor into the morgue to “choose what remains to purchase,” the indictment alleged.

Cedric Lodge and his wife allegedly communicated with others, including Maclean and Taylor, “through internet social media websites and cellular telephones regarding the sale of stolen human remains,” the indictment stated.

Among the transactions referenced in the indictment, Cedric Lodge and Maclean allegedly met at the morgue on Oct. 28, 2020, after Maclean agreed to purchase two “dissected faces” for $600 from him.

Maclean allegedly stored and sold stolen remains at her store, Kat’s Creepy Creations in Peabody, Massachusetts, as well as shipped to buyers in multiple states, including Pauley, according to the indictment.

In one instance, in 2021, Maclean allegedly shipped Pauley human skin to be tanned to create leather, and provided him with human skin as payment, according to the indictment. Maclean contacted Pauley to confirm the shipment arrived because she “wanted to make sure it got to you and I don’t expect agents at my door,” the indictment stated.

Taylor is also accused of buying remains stolen from Harvard Medical School and selling them to buyers including Pauley, according to the indictment.

Between September 2018 and July 2021, Taylor transferred 39 electronic payments to a PayPal account operated by Denise Lodge totaling $37,355.56 in “payment for human remains stolen by Cedric Lodge from Harvard Medical School,” the indictment stated. One $1,000 payment in 2019 was sent with the memo “head number 7,” while a $200 payment in 2020 had the memo “braiiiiiins,” according to the indictment.

Pauley allegedly transferred 25 payments totaling $40,049.04 to Taylor via PayPal, according to the indictment, which did not specify what the payments were for.

“Some crimes defy understanding,” U.S. Attorney Gerard Karam said in a statement. “It is particularly egregious that so many of the victims here volunteered to allow their remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and healing. For them and their families to be taken advantage of in the name of profit is appalling. With these charges, we are seeking to secure some measure of justice for all these victims.”

Karam said the school, “which is also a victim here,” is cooperating in the investigation.

FBI Boston special agents arrested Cedric and Denise Lodge and Maclean on Wednesday without incident, the FBI said. Online records do not include attorney information for them. ABC News was unable to reach them for comment.

Taylor entered a not guilty plea on Wednesday, court records show. His attorney declined to comment to ABC News on the allegations.

Harvard Medical School terminated Cedric Lodge’s employment on May 6, school officials said in Wednesday’s statement.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley and Dean for Medical Education Edward Hundert said, adding they are “very sorry for the pain this news will cause for our anatomical donors’ families and loved ones.”

The school has been examining its own records to determine which donors may have been impacted, they said.

Pauley is also implicated in another alleged human remains trafficking scheme involving the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, according to court documents.

He is accused of buying stolen remains from Candace Chapman Scott, who worked at a Little Rock mortuary and crematorium that had contracted with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for cremation services for cadavers received through its anatomical gift program, according to court filings.

Pauley is accused of advertising human remains for sale on Facebook and selling remains he purchased from Scott to buyers in various states, including Matthew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota, according to court filings. Pauley and Lampi allegedly bought and sold from each other over an extended period of time and exchanged over $100,000 in online payments, prosecutors allege.

Lampi was also indicted this week on conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods charges in connection with his alleged dealings with Pauley.

Online court records do not include any attorney information for Lampi and Pauley. ABC News was unable to reach them for comment.

Scott was previously indicted in the Eastern District of Arkansas. She pleaded not guilty in April to multiple charges, including interstate transportation of stolen property and mail fraud.

ABC News’ Alexandra Faul contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App

×

Site Designed & Hosted by Eves Digital