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Judge Dismisses Stolen Body-Parts Lawsuit Against Harvard

After a judge in Boston dismissed their lawsuit on Tuesday, a lawyer for families that sued Harvard Medical School for negligence over the theft of body parts of their loved ones from its morgue pledged to appeal, the Associated Press reports. Forty-seven relatives of people who donated their bodies brought 12 separate lawsuits which were consolidated, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger said the lawsuits from donors’ families failed to show Harvard was responsible for the conduct of its morgue manager, accused of the alleged thefts.

The former morgue manager, Cedric Lodge of Goffstown, New Hampshire, is accused of stealing dissected portions of cadavers that were donated to the medical school in the scheme, which stretched from 2018 to early 2023. According to prosecutors, the defendants were part of a nationwide network of people who bought and sold remains stolen from Harvard Medical School and an Arkansas mortuary. Lodge sometimes took the body parts — which included heads, brains, skin, and bones — back to his home, and some remains were sent to buyers through the mail, according to the criminal case. Lodge also allegedly allowed buyers to come to the morgue to pick which remains they wanted to buy, authorities said. Bodies donated to Harvard Medical School are intended for use for education, teaching, or research purposes. Once they are no longer needed, the cadavers are usually cremated and the ashes are returned to the donor’s family or buried in a cemetery.


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