Three families have sued Harvard University’s medical school over a scandal involving the sale of body parts, saying their relative’s bodies were dumped in a “place of freakish desecration.”
Glenn Wilder, Jeanine Cunningham, and Pamela Bishop filed the lawsuit in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston and claim the bodies of their loved ones were treated “like trinkets at a flea market.”
Federal prosecutors say that cadavers were stolen from the university’s morgue, then chopped up and sold.
Morgue manager Cedric Lodge, his wife and several others have been indicted for trafficking stolen human remains.
Mr Lodge is accused of allowing customers into the morgue to select the body parts, which included bones, skin, decapitated heads and brains.
He and his wife are accused of preparing those parts for sale and shipping them from their home in New Hampshire, according to a federal criminal indictment.
“When these individuals and their families made the generous and selfless decision to donate their bodies, they trusted their remains would be treated with utmost care, dignity, and respect and that their donations would be used to educate the future generation of doctors and ease the suffering of others,” attorneys John Morgan and Kathryn Barnett said in a joint statement. “Now, these families are left to relive the trauma of losing their loved ones and wonder what happened to their remains.”
Harvard Medical School said in a statement on Thursday that it does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.
Earlier this month, the university said that it was “appalled to learn that something so disturbing could happen on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others.”
Buyers identified in the federal criminal indictment include Katrina MacLean, of Salem, Massachusetts, and Joshua Taylor, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania. Mr MacLean is accused of selling the stolen remains to buyers in multiple states, the indictment said.