Fact Check

Is This a Real Pic of Harvard Morgue Employee Charged with Trafficking in Body Parts?

The story became major news in June 2023.

Published Jun 19, 2023

Image Via @Rap/Twitter
An photograph authentically shows a Harvard morgue employee charged in connection with trafficking in human remains in spring 2023.
What's True

The photograph showed a man who was indeed charged in the Harvard morgue case, and who later reportedly pleaded guilty to charges related to it. However ...

What's False

... The man depicted in the photograph was not a Harvard morgue employee.

In June 2023, a photograph began to spread online claiming to show a "Harvard morgue employee" charged in connection with trafficking in human remains.

"Harvard morgue employee charged with trafficking human remains after selling 2 dissected faces for $600," a Twitter post said on June 19, 2023. The post was attached to a photograph of the alleged employee.

We also found other posts about the trafficking claims that included the photograph on social media platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and Facebook. And we found a Complex article that prominently featured the picture with the headline, "Harvard Morgue Manager And Associates Charged With Trafficking Human Remains, Sold Parts Via Facebook And PayPal."

While the person depicted was indeed charged and had reportedly pleaded guilty in connection with trafficking human remains from Harvard, he was not an employee for the morgue.

According to news reports, the man in the photograph, Jeremy Pauley, pleaded guilty to two criminal counts related to the Harvard morgue case: conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property and interstate transportation of stolen property. We found the photograph that spread across social media in reports from multiple reputable publications, including from broadcast stations and local reporters.

According to CBS News, Pauley was previously arrested in July 2022 on multiple counts related to abusing a corpse, receiving stolen property, and other alleged crimes. We found the picture that spread across social media originally posted on the Crimewatch page for the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office in August 2022. (Crimewatch is a website many police departments use in Pennsylvania.)

Cedric Lodge was the manager of the Harvard morgue accused of selling stolen body parts from Harvard Medical School. At the time of publication, he and other defendants in the case had been arraigned and given a future court date, according to CBS' Boston station WBZ-TV


Fiandaca, Cheryl. "I-Team: Theft of Body Parts from Harvard Raises Concerns for Organ Donation Services - CBS Boston." CBS Boston, 15 June 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/i-team-theft-bodies-harvard-concerns-organ-donation/.

"https://twitter.com/KristinaRex/Status/1669145065111838725." Twitter, https://twitter.com/KristinaRex/status/1669145065111838725. Accessed 19 June 2023.

Jeski, Tyler. "Plea Deal Filed for Cumberland Co. Man in Case Surrounding Stolen Human Remains: Court Doc." WHP, 15 June 2023, https://local21news.com/news/local/plea-deal-jeremy-pauley-middle-district-of-pennsylvania-stolen-human-remains-arkansas-mortuary-harvard-medical-school-multiple-indictments-june-15-2023.

"NEWS POST: Enola Man Arrested for Dealing in Stolen Body Parts." CRIMEWATCH, https://cumberland.crimewatchpa.com/da/5591/post/enola-man-arrested-dealing-stolen-body-parts. Accessed 19 June 2023.

Segelbaum, Dylan. "They Were Arrested for Having Some Weed in Pa. Their Mugshots Still Follow Them Online." York Daily Record, https://www.ydr.com/story/news/watchdog/2020/07/01/news-releases-mugshots-possession-of-small-amount-of-marijuana-pennsylvania/5220460002/. Accessed 19 June 2023.

Tabachnick, Cara. "Harvard Medical School Morgue Manager Accused of Selling Body Parts as Part of "Stolen Human Remains" Criminal Network - CBS News." CBS News, 14 June 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cedric-lodge-harvard-medical-school-morgue-manager-accused-of-selling-body-parts/.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

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