Abuse-of-corpse charges prompt review of protocols at Pitt

Northeast

(NewsNation) — The University of Pittsburgh is reviewing its protocols after two students were charged with mistreating a medical cadaver during a class.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Amay Gupta, 19, of Fremont, Calif., and Sonel S. Jimenez, 19, of Albrightsville, Carbon County, each face one misdemeanor count of abuse of corpse. They are accused of mistreating a cadaver Nov. 4, when police allege they made sexual remarks and touched corpses inappropriately.

Both have preliminary hearings set for next month, the Post-Gazette reported.

The university told the newspaper that it will review how it handles donated human tissue as a result of the incident. The nonprofit Human Gifts Registry donates about 80 cadavers per year for educational purposes.

“While incidents of misconduct by individuals are extremely rare, the university has robust oversight in place to ensure that any allegation of misuse or mistreatment of donated tissue is swiftly investigated and addressed, as is happening in this case,” the university said in a statement. “As part of that process, the appropriate offices and leaders will review all processes and protocols to determine if there are opportunities to strengthen or improve them.”

Police say witnesses reported Gupta made sexual remarks about a male corpse and stuck his hand in its chest, while Jimenez inappropriately touched a female corpse, smirked and made comments. Both told officers they were instructed to be respectful toward cadavers, CBS Pittsburgh reported.

In a statement to the Post-Gazette, a lawyer for Jimenez asked the public to reserve judgment.

“In criminal cases, what police and prosecutors alleged happened, and what really happened, are often two different things,” attorney Joseph D. Lento said. He suggested authorities were “trying to convict Mr. Jimenez in the court of public opinion” before any proceedings in criminal court.

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