Gavel to Gavel

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A Bushwick man who oversaw security for the Museum of Natural History will be facing the next two to six years in a very, very secure environment %u2013 prison, law enforcement officials said this week.

Officials from the Kings County District Attorney’s office said that Daron Kearse, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child.

As part of the agreement he hammered out with the DA, Kearse will be sentenced to two to six years in prison when the case comes back to court in October.

Kearse was arrested after he had allegedly uploaded six images of child pornography to the Internet website www.Photobucket.com back in December 2007.

On July 1, 2008, investigators executed a search warrant of Kearse’s home on Decatur Street and found multiple compact discs and DVDs containing child pornography images.

At the time of his arrest, Kearse was the manager of the safety and security department at The American Museum of Natural History.

He had no criminal record save for a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) conviction in 2003.

Once he fulfills his sentence, Kearse will have to register as a sex offender with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, officials said.

The investigation into the ghoulish activities that took place in a “secret room” deep within the former Daniel George & Sons funeral home in Bensonhurst could be close to resting in peace.

Officials in Rochester announced Friday that the cases against a handful of people involved in the widespread body harvesting case masterminded by New Jersey biomedical baron Michael Mastromarino have been adjudicated, with at least one of Mastromarino’s employees acquitted of charges that she knowingly looted corpses for profit.

Officials said that a Monroe County judge ruled that Darlene Deats, who worked at the suburban Rochester branch of Mastromarino’s Biomedical Tissue Services, did not know that she was assisting in the removal and transportation of bones, organs and other tissue from the recently deceased without the consent of the decedent or their families.

Deats reportedly believed repeated assurances from Mastromarino that the harvestings were perfectly legal, when they were clearly not.

Mastromarino is currently facing 18 to 54 years in prison for the scheme, which spread as far as Pennsylvania.

He and cohorts Joseph Nicelli, Christopher Aldorasi and Lee Cruceta were accused of cutting into corpses prepared for burial and removing bone, tissue and organs that they would then sell to hospitals through Mastromarino’s biomedical company.

The ghouls would replace the missing materials with wadding and PVC pipe so nothing would look out of order during viewings and funeral services.

Investigators found that Mastromarino not only didn’t have the proper consent to remove body parts from over 1,000 corpses between 2001 and 2006, but he even doctored medical files and reports making it appear that the decedents had died of natural causes, when some of them died of cancer and other diseases.

Most of the cutting was done in the Daniel George & Sons Funeral Home on Bath Avenue, which at the time was being run by Nicelli. Cruceta. Aldorassi assisted in the bone and tissue removal.

Investigators believe that the looted body parts were used as raw materials in upwards of 10,000 surgical procedures throughout the United States and Canada.

Mastromarino’s scam was discovered in 2007. He, Nicelli and Cruceta all received hefty prison sentences after pleading guilty to taking part in the operation. Aldorassi professed his innocence, but was convicted after a jury trial.

Several funeral home directors %u2013 who were reportedly paid $1,000 for each corpse they supplied to Mastromarino %u2013 also pleaded guilty and received probation, officials said.

Deats, 48, reportedly removed organs from 23 bodies at Mastromarino’s behest. She, three other biomedical employees and three funeral directors from Monroe County were implicated in the body looting conspiracy.

One of the upstate funeral directors, identified in published reports as Jason Gano, was convicted of allowing 17 bodies to be looted and was sentenced to six to 18 years in prison.

Officials said that Deats is the only defendant in the Monroe investigation to be acquitted. Several of the others pleaded guilty to lesser charges while one was convicted of fraud.

As the cases in Monroe were being adjudicated, a U.S. District Court Judge in New Jersey threw out hundreds of civil suits filed by the people who received the possibly tainted body parts from Mastromarino’s company.

The judge sided with Mastromarino’s defense team who said that the diseases in body parts removed from HIV and cancer-ridden corpses couldn’t be transferred to their new owners because they were stored at room temperature for 30 days or more before re-implantation %u2013 a process that would have killed any diseased cells.

The judge ruled that any plaintiffs who received bone tissue or bone paste transplants and have tested negative for those and other diseases more than six months after their surgery did not have any grounds to sue.

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