England reaches plea agreement in stolen body part case
February 10 is the date set for former Oneida and Forest County Medical Examiner Traci England’s sentencing after she took body parts from cadavers to train a dog. She did not have permission from the families to do this.
England, 46, was charged in January 2012 and released on a $5,000 signature bond after it was discovered she took body parts from several cadavers during autopsy proceedings. She was charged with two counts of misconduct in office-excess authority, theft and obstructing an officer. The theft and obstructing an officer charges were dismissed last Friday.
During that plea hearing in Oneida County, England and her lawyer, Joel Hirschhorn, presented a lengthy list of punishments England was willing to face in a plea deal.
Some of those include; five days each in the Oneida County and Forest County jails; 300 hours of community service to be split between Forest and Oneida counties; a written letter of apology to be published in local media outlets and full cooperation with respective counties in the event of civil lawsuits. In addition, she is to return to the families cremated remains of the body parts she took and not take part in any cadaver dog training. No fine amount was stipulated but England will have to pay court costs and a restitution amount has yet to be set.
On Thursday, Jan 16, a family did file a civil suit concerning the theft of cadaver body parts from their loved one. The family of David Olejnik, including his parents and two siblings, claim England and Oneida County as defendants. The suit alleges numerous federal and state claims including that England and the county deprived the family of the property interest in their loved ones remains; abused his body and caused negligent infliction of severe emotional distress.
The civil suit does not specify how much money is being sought but the family would like a jury trial and is seeking punitive damages.