Saturday, March 10, 2012

Police: Ohio Funeral Home Worker Sexually Abused Corpse

H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home is where corpse was sexually abused
H.H. Birkenkamp is owned by Houston-based Service Corporation International
Lawrence J. Clement: Police charged for sexually abusing dead woman
Toledo, Ohio

A deeply disturbing story is coming from Toledo, Ohio and involves the world’s largest funeral corporation. Authorities have arrested Lawrence J. Clement for sexually abusing a corpse. Clement, 57, has been working for H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home in Toledo, a funeral home owned by Service Corporation International.

According to the Toledo Police Department, employees with the H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home called the 51-year-old victim's family members to report that one of their staff members had sexually abused her corpse. Another employee allegedly witnessed the sexual assault. The funeral home offered to waive the $11,000 funeral bill if they agreed not to call police. The family rejected the offer, contacted police and transferred the victim’s body to another funeral home.

Details on the abuse were not released, but the employee has been fired, said Lisa Marshall, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI).

Clement was booked into the Lucas County Jail and charged with abuse of a corpse.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Update: Funeral Director Charged With Sexually Abusing Women

Last month, Brian Tate, a funeral home director was arrested for sexually abusing multiple women.There are new developments in the case against the owner of Tait Funeral Home in Cazenovia, New York.

Cazenovia, New York

The case of a well-known funeral director charged with sex abuse won't go to court in his hometown. A Cazenovia judge recused himself from the case Tuesday.

State Police say Brian Tait gave former employees an inappropriate physical examination, saying it was necessary for employment.

The judge that stepped down said the case wouldn't seem impartial since he’s tried at least 20 cases before Brian Tait's Father, who is a former Supreme Court judge. Not only that, he also told NewsChannel 9 he knows some of the victims.

Tait is charged with forcible touching and sex abuse and could face even more counts after State Police say more victims have come forward.

Investigators say Tait told employees he needed to physically examine them to make sure they weren't allergic to some of the chemicals used at the funeral home. He also said the exams were necessary for employment. Police say the incidents have been going on since 2006.

Had the judge stayed on the case, procedurally Tait would have been arraigned. However, since the judge has asked the county to reassign the case, Tait will have to answer to the charges elsewhere.

Further charges are pending as an investigation continues.

State Police are asking anyone with information in this case to call them at (315)366-6000.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Burr Oak Cemetery Manager Sent to Prison For 12 Years

Chicago, Illinois

The convicted ringleader of the macabre Burr Oak Cemetery burial plot-reselling scheme turned herself in today to begin serving her 12-year prison sentence, authorities said.

Carolyn Towns, 51, of Blue Island, pleaded guilty in July to six charges, including desecration of human remains, removal of the remains of multiple deceased people from a burial ground and conspiracy to dismember multiple human bodies.

In July, she was sentenced to 12 years in state prison, but was given the time to make arrangements for the care of her elderly mother, said one of Towns’ attorney, Richard Kling.

“Sometimes good people do foolish things … It’s very sad. She’s a sweet lady and she’s going to pay a dear price,” he said.

She was one of four cemetery employees charged two years ago when the grave-digging scheme was exposed. Backhoe operator Maurice Dailey, 61, of Robbins; foreman Keith Nicks, 47 and dump-truck operator Terrence Nicks, 41, both of Chicago were also charged. Their cases are pending.

In July 2009, authorities revealed that workers at Burr Oak were reselling graves and dumping hundreds of old remains in an abandoned, weed-covered lot, Dart said.

The discovery shocked the region’s black community because of the cemetery’s special significance to African-Americans. Burr Oak was the area’s first cemetery to allow blacks to be interred there, and countless African-American families would bury relatives there over the years.

Towns was accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the corporation that operated the cemetery, officials with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors said Towns would accept cash payments from grieving families and keep the money. She would then instruct the gravediggers to bury the bodies in plots that were already occupied. In some cases, the diggers would stack new coffins on top of old ones, authorities said. Or they would remove the old remains and bury the new ones there.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Illinois Funeral Home Directors Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges

Gary and Stephanie Deiters
Washington, Illinois

The owners of two prominent funeral homes in Washington and East Peoria were arrested and charged with domestic battery.

Gary and Stephanie Deiters, owners of Deiters Funeral Home, are scheduled to appear in court later this month. The couple was arrested as “mutual combatants” on Sept. 24 at their home at 2075 Washington Road, also the location of Deiters Funeral Home, according to authorities. They were booked into and released from Tazewell County Justice Center with notices to appear in court on Oct. 25.

Investigators declined to discuss details of the incident that produced the arrests but said the two displayed “minor but noticeable injuries.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

Police: Funeral Home Director Charged With Sexually Abusing Women

Police Say More Victims Coming Forward and Fear There May Be Many More

Funeral Home Director Charged With Sexually Abusing Women
Cazenovia, New York
A well-respected member of a Madison County community is facing charges of sexual abuse. New York State police have arrested Brian Tait, 46, of Cazenovia, for allegedly subjecting a former employee at Tait Funeral Home to inappropriate physical exams. And troopers say there are other potential victims.
It was at the Tait Funeral Home on Fenner Road in the Town of Cazenovia that New York State Police now say Tait forcibly touched and sexually abused a woman. "It involved an employee disrobing and some potential sexual contact as part of an employment interview to see how this employee reacted with certain chemicals involved in the embalming process," said Captain Mark Lincoln.
According to troopers, the 24-year-old victim says the exam was conducted last month. And she and others may not have initially thought it was inappropriate because of unfamiliarity with the mortuary business and other factors. Troopers say Brian Tait was well-known and respected in Cazenovia and trusted by his employees and their families. And they say he betrayed that trust.
"When somebody in a position of trust suggests that this particular examination needed to be done for this type of employment, the people were not really in a position to second guess," Lincoln said.
Since Tait was arrested and charged Wednesday, troopers say other potential victims have come forward. And they say there may be others out there.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Former Funeral Director Arrested On 8 Counts Of Theft

Hartford, Connecticut

A former funeral home director in Hartford has been arrested.
Geneva County Sheriff Deputies have arrested Jason Shephard and are charging him with eight counts of Theft By Deception. The charges stem from an investigation into the pre-need funeral home accounting practices of the funeral home owned by Shephard.

After an investigation by Hartford Police, the case information was presented to a Geneva County Grand Jury which returned indictments.
Shepard had moved to Georgia and was arrested in Georgia.

The deceptive practices came to light following complaints from families that had paid pre-need funerals.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Police: Colorado Funeral Director Byron Griffy Sexually Abused Child

Griffy Family Funeral Home in Fowler, Colorado
Byron Griffy was active in many activities involving children
Funeral Home Director Byron Griffy Arrested for sexual abuse of a child

Colorado Springs, Colorado

A funeral home director from Fowler has been arrested and accused of sexually abusing a child.
According to Otero County Sheriff’s Office investigators, 75-year-old Byron Griffy molested the child over the course of the last two years. Further details, including the name and age of the child have not been released.
Griffy now faces a charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. The funeral director's bond was set at $10,000.
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