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Former Harvard Principal’s Wife Pleads Guilty to Shipping Stolen Human Remains

The wife of a former director of the morgue at the medical school of the University of Harvard pleaded guilty to a federal charge after investigators said she shipped stolen human corpse parts — including hands, feet, and heads — to buyers.

Denise Lodge, 64, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, according to court records.

Last year, federal prosecutors announced charges against Lodge, her husband Cedric, and five others over an alleged scheme in which a nationwide network of people bought and sold human remains stolen from Harvard and a morgue in Arkansas.

Prosecutors allege that Denise Lodge negotiated online sales of a series of items between 2018 and March 2020, including two dozen hands, two feet, nine spines, portions of skulls, five dissected human faces, and two dissected heads, reported the news site

Authorities said dissected portions of cadavers donated to the school were taken between 2018 and 2023 without the school’s knowledge or permission. A Pennsylvania man, Jeremy Pauley of Thompson, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last year to conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property.

Denise Lodge’s attorney, Hope Lefeber, told public broadcaster WBUR in an interview in February that her client’s husband “was doing this and she just accepted it.” She said, “What happened here is wrong,” but no one lost money and the matter was “more of a moral and ethical dilemma… than a criminal case.”

Cadavers donated to Harvard Medical School are used for educational, teaching, or research purposes. Once they are no longer needed, they are usually cremated, and the ashes are returned to the donor’s family or buried in a cemetery.

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