Creighton University expressed sadness and alarm over the apparent attempted sale of century-old fetuses that federal authorities say were somehow obtained from the university.
Federal authorities indicted a Colorado woman who is accused of trying to sell fetuses online last year.
Court documents say three fetuses and a fetal skeleton were traced to Creighton. The documents say the fetuses appear to have been stillborn in the 1920s.
“We are saddened by these events, as they violate our values, beliefs and protocols,” Creighton said Friday through a written statement. The actions mentioned in the indictment “are absolutely contrary to our practices, our expectations and the fundamental value of respect of our donors .”
The statement said practices have changed through the years concerning the acceptance and use of donor bodies. Staffers were supposed to cremate the fetuses and give them Christian burials, according to Creighton School of Medicine practice.
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“This did not occur, and we are working with the authorities to identify all responsible parties,” Creighton’s statement said.
Emily Suzanne Cain, 38, allegedly tried to mail the fetuses a year ago from Cañon City, Colorado, to the United Kingdom, federal officials contend.
Cain had written on social media that she acquired the fetuses from a university lab collection, the federal complaint says, and sought $20,000 for them.
An X-ray of a package at San Francisco International Airport revealed a human shape, the complaint says. The package label described the contents as “school teaching aids and T-shirts.”
Officers arrested Cain in Fort Collins, Colorado, and released her on $5,000 bail with a GPS monitor. She pleaded not guilty to charges Tuesday, KUSA-TV reported. Her case is set for Nov. 20 in federal court in San Francisco.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.