Morgan & Morgan have filed a lawsuit against Harvard University and its medical school after a federal investigation unveiled that the Ivy League institution's morgue was at the center of a nationwide black market of human remains and body parts from donated cadavers.
This unthinkable and heinous discovery has sent shockwaves throughout the nation and has left surviving family members of deceased donors wondering what became of their departed loved ones.
According to the federal investigation, Cedric Lodge, the former morgue manager at Harvard Medical School, along with his wife and four other suspects named in a federal indictment, has been accused of selling stolen human body parts through a Facebook group that focussed on buying, selling, and trading "oddities," which allegedly included skulls, hearts, genitals, skin, and fetal remains.
Lodge had worked for Harvard’s morgue since 1995. According to the criminal indictment, he had allegedly stolen parts of the donated cadavers that had been dissected between 2018 to early 2023.
A Grotesque Lack of Oversight
In the complaint filed by Morgan & Morgan, attorneys are demanding answers as to how Lodge was capable of such atrocities through Harvard’s morgue.
In a statement made to USA Today by John Morgan and Kathryn Barnett, the attorneys stated their intentions to "fight to hold everyone responsible for this disgrace accountable."
“When these individuals and their families made the generous and selfless decision to donate their bodies, they trusted their remains would be treated with the 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," according to the statement. "Now, these families are left to relive the trauma of losing their loved ones and wonder what happened to their remains.”
The lawsuit accuses Harvard of violating its responsibility to protect the human remains entrusted to it and further explains that the scandal represents "an unthinkable, unconscionable breach of trust by an institution that holds itself out as the very pinnacle of excellence."
The lawsuit also comments on Harvard’s lax policies and procedures when it came to safeguarding the donated cadavers and vetting and hiring staff members such as Lodge.
Oversight by the institution was so lax, in fact, that Lodge also allegedly brought human remains to his home in New Hampshire to sell. In at least one instance, he reportedly brought prospective buyers to the morgue to choose which remains they wanted to purchase.
"Instead of caring properly for and protecting the remains entrusted to them, Harvard abandoned them in a facility that was a place of freakish desecration, where criminals were allowed to roam and pick over loved ones' remains for bits like trinkets at a flea market,” the lawsuit explains.
Hold Harvard Accountable
If you believe a lost loved one may have been involved in the Harvard morgue scandal, don’t hesitate to reach out to Morgan & Morgan today. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation case evaluation to determine your eligibility and what your next steps can be.
As the nation’s largest personal injury law firm, Morgan & Morgan has recovered over $15 billion in the fight for clients’ justice, and we may be able to help your case, too.
These unspeakable acts should not have been so easy to commit—and especially not for the length of time that such vile behavior continued. Join the fight and take action. Together, we can hold Harvard accountable, help spread awareness, and possible prevent similar unfortunate events like this from occurring again.