Several people, including the manager of Harvard Medical School’s (HMS) morgue, have been federally indicted as part of nationwide network of people allegedly stealing, selling, and buying cadaver parts.
Law&Crime previously wrote about one person mentioned by name in the indictment: Jeremy Pauley, whose case came to light after he allegedly purchased stolen remains that an Arkansas woman had illegally obtained from a mortuary. Pauley was first charged in Pennsylvania state court and then charged by information federally on Wednesday. Notably, a plea agreement was filed the same day for a count each of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, and interstate transportation of stolen property. A change of plea hearing is scheduled for June 27.
Cedric Lodge, the 55-year-old Harvard morgue manager at the center of the case, said nothing Wednesday as he left federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, according to NBC Boston. HMS announced they fired him May 6, but documents said he had secretly used his position to traffic in all manner of human remains.
“At times, CEDRIC LODGE stole dissected portions of donated cadavers, including, for example, heads, brains, skin, bones, and other human remains, without the knowledge or permission of HMS, and removed those remains from the morgue in Massachusetts and transported them to his residence in New Hampshire,” the indictment stated.
He allegedly let co-defendants Katrina Maclean, 44, Joshua Taylor, 46, and others into the HMS morgue to pick out body parts for purchase.
Documents describe morgue manager’s wife, Denise Lodge, as also participating in the scheme. For example, Denise allegedly communicated with a person identified in documents only as “Individual 1,” a resident of Montgomery, Pennsylvania. She agreed to sell him remains that her husband stole from Harvard, according to documents. She shipped the cadaver parts to Montgomery, prosecutors said.
Between Sept. 3, 2018, through July 12, 2021, Taylor allegedly sent 39 payments, totaling $37,355.56, to a PayPal account that Denise Lodge operated. That was for human remains that Cedric Lodge stole from Harvard, authorities said. On May 19, 2019, he sent her $10,000 with a memo reading “head number 7,” documents stated. On Nov 20, 2020, Taylor allegedly sent her $200 with a memo reading “braiiiiiins.”
Records show Taylor pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors described Maclean, 44, of Salem, Massachusetts, as running Kat’s Creepy Creations in the city of Peabody; she allegedly sold and stored remains at the store. She purchased remains from Cedric Lodge, according to authorities. The purchases included two dissected faces for $600, prosecutors said. She would also sell remains, shipping them out to customers in multiple states, authorities said. One alleged client was Jeremy Pauley.
According to the indictment, Maclean shipped human skin to Pauley in Pennsylvania, and she engaged his services to tan the skin into leather. In lieu of payment, she allegedly agreed to give Pauley human skin. When she asked, Cedric Lodge agreed to help her find skin at HMS to send to Pauley, authorities said. She allegedly shipped human skin from Massachusetts to Pauley. Several days later, she contacted him to confirm if it arrived because she “wanted to make sure it got to you and I don’t expect agents at my door,” documents said.
“She has never been in trouble before, and obviously, this is very stressful,” her attorney Gordon Spencer told reporters in the NBC Boston report. “She just wants to be home with her family.”
Pauley, 41, of Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania, allegedly transferred 25 payments to Taylor via PayPay. The total, according to prosecutors: $40,094.04.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s press release also names Mathew Lampi, 52, of East Bethel, Minnesota, as a federal defendant.
“Lampi and Pauley bought and sold from each other over an extended period of time and exchanged over $100,000 in online payments,” authorities said.
Pauley was previously charged in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in a related case. A seventh person, Candace Chapman Scott, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was indicted back on April 5 for allegedly stealing from a mortuary and selling to Pauley.
HMS released a statement Wednesday titled “an abhorrent betrayal.”
“Investigators believe that Lodge acted without the knowledge or cooperation of anyone else at HMS or Harvard,” said George Q. Daley, dean of the faculty of medicine, and Edward M. Hundert, dean for medical education. “Lodge was indicted along with other individuals not affiliated with Harvard.”
But one of the victim families voiced frustration and sadness over the entire situation. Paula Peltonovich and Darlene Lynch, who are sisters, told NBC Boston that they called Harvard twice before getting confirmation that their family was affected. It was their father Nicholas Pichowicz. He and his wife, Joan Pichowicz, both former police officers, had donated their remains to HMS.
“They were always giving, so they wanted to give their bodies to science,” Peltonovich said. “And what better than going to Harvard, you know?” — or so the victims thought.
“We have been working with information supplied by federal authorities and examining our own records, particularly the logs showing when donor remains were sent to be cremated and when Lodge was on campus, to try to determine which anatomical donors may have been impacted,” the Harvard statement said. “Federal authorities continue to investigate, and additional information may emerge. We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others. The reported incidents are a betrayal of HMS and, most importantly, each of the individuals who altruistically chose to will their bodies to HMS through the Anatomical Gift Program to advance medical education and research.”
Peltonovich told NBC Boston her “concern is getting my mom back.”
“I don’t want them to touch my mom. Can you blame me? The whole thing’s wrong,” she said.
Harvard asked that anyone who believes they or a family member may have been affected by the crimes to please contact the Victim and Witness Unit at [email protected] or 717-614-4249. They presented resources for family members and next of kin:
- Webpage with available resources for donor families and next of kin.
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
- Toll-free information and support center staffed by specially-trained counselors, who are currently available 24/7 at 1-888-268-1129.
- Letters to be sent today via expedited delivery to documented next of kin.
Federal prosecutors also released contact information for possible victim families:
The United States Attorney’s Office has and will continue to attempt to identify and contact as many of the victims and victims’ families affected by this case as possible. If anyone believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in these indictments and information, please contact our Victim and Witness Unit at [email protected] or (717) 614-4249. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the East Pennsboro Township Police Department, and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting the case.
Read the indictment here.
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