Harvard morgue manager charged in national cadaver trafficking scandal

Body parts stolen and sold included the remains of stillborn babies, brains, and human skin for the purpose to 'tan ... to create leather.'

Seven people are facing charges in connection to the case, including two individuals whose exchanges with one another amounted to over $100,000.

Harvard Medical School’s morgue manager and his wife have been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing donated human remains from the institution and selling them in a national trafficking ring.

Over the course of 2018-2022, Cedric Lodge, the former Harvard morgue manager, and his wife, Denise, allegedly robbed the school of human remains, including bodies of stillborns that were intended to be cremated and returned to their families. The charges were officially announced on June 14.

The medical school operates an on-site morgue facility that stores donated cadavers until they are utilized for educational purposes or research by the university. Employees are forbidden to remove, keep, or sell any of the organs and bodies.

[RELATED: LAWSUIT: UNM allegedly took donated remains of unborn baby for experiments]

The Lodges were said to have unlawfully transported the remains from the Harvard facility in Boston to their home in New Hampshire, communicating with clients over social media websites. Body parts they stole featured heads, brains, skin, and bones.

Accomplices Katrina Maclean, Joshua Taylor, and Matthew Lampi were also charged with conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods. Jeremy Pauley and Candace Chapman Scott have also been charged in connection to the case.

“At times, Cedric Lodge used his access to the morgue to allow Katrina Maclean, Joshua Taylor, and others to enter the morgue and choose what remains to purchase, after [they] would remove the stolen remains and transport them elsewhere,” according to the indictment

Through Lodge, Maclean was able to send Pauley human skin for “his services to tan the skin to create leather.”

[RELATED: Members of Congress call for investigation into UPitt fetal tissue harvesting allegations]

The exchanges between Lampi and Pauley amounted to over $100,000 in online payments.

Remains obtained by the Lodges were exchanged with his clients for payments over PayPal. One $200 memo transaction read “braiiiiiins,” with another one stating “head number 7” for $1,000.

The Lodges received over $37,000 from Taylor alone over three years.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Lodge served as the Harvard morgue manager since 1995. 

He was fired from his position on May 6, according to a letter by Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley and Dean for Medical Education Edward Hundert.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” the statement read. “We are so very sorry for the pain this news will cause for our anatomical donors’ families and loved ones, and HMS pledges to engage with them during this deeply distressing time.”

In the event of a successful conviction, Lodge and his associates can face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Campus Reform has reached out to various Harvard officials. A media relations official declined to comment citing the ongoing criminal investigation. This story will be updated accordingly.

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