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Lawsuit sparked by Harvard morgue manager over alleged theft of body parts | Court News

The former manager allegedly sold body parts on the black market, prompting lawsuits for negligence and emotional distress.

The son of an American woman whose remains were donated to Harvard Medical School (HMS) for scientific research has filed a class-action lawsuit after a former mortuary manager at the university was accused of stealing and selling body parts.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, Massachusetts, could include the families of as many as 400 donors.

Earlier this week, a federal grand jury indicted former mortuary manager Cedric Lodge and four other defendants for selling donated remains on the black market. They were charged with “conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen goods.”

Meanwhile, Friday’s class-action lawsuit seeks damages for negligence, misconduct and emotional distress.

“Medical schools like Harvard have a responsibility to ensure [donated remains] are properly disposed of and ensured that they are used for their intended purpose of scientific research,” said Jeff Catalano, a partner at Keches Law Group, which represented the victims.

“When that duty is breached, families can obtain compensation through emotional distress claims,” ​​he added.

The Keches Law Group is representing John Bozek, who believes the body of his mother Adele Mazzone was tampered with in the scheme.

Lodge, 55, and his wife, Denise Lodge, allegedly conspired to sell body parts, such as heads, brains, skin and bones, to the other defendants named in the federal indictment. These defendants then resold the goods they purchased to other buyers.

Harvard University said it fired Lodge on May 6. Deans George Daley and Edward Hundert called the alleged actions “morally reprehensible” in a post on the school’s website.

“We are appalled to learn that something so disturbing is happening on our campus — a community dedicated to healing and serving others,” the message read.

“The reported incident is a betrayal of HMS, and above all, the selfless choice of each individual to give their body to HMS through the Gift of Anatomy program to advance medical education and research.”

Lodge allegedly allowed some potential clients to visit the morgue in person so they could choose which remains they wished to purchase. He allegedly took other body parts home or sent them in the mail.

However, remains donated to the School of Medicine may only be used for research or teaching purposes. Once used, the remains are usually cremated and returned to their families for burial.

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