Mark M Beatty
The Columbus Dispatch
Mark M. Beatty pleaded guilty August 5 to purchasing Native American human remains and violating NAGPRA.

Ohio Man Bought Human Remains, Agrees to 100 Hours Community Service


Mark M. Beatty, 56, of Ohio, pleaded guilty August 5 to purchasing Native American human remains, and violating the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, reports a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio.

It was the first time NAGPRA has been criminally enforced in the district. Jackson County Sheriff Tedd Frazier told The Columbus Dispatch that a neighbor saw men digging in a rock shelter on a farm on Sour Run Road in November 2012. Beatty purchased the remains of two adults and six juveniles from the men.

“He was purchasing from grave robbers,” Frazier told the Dispatch.

Beatty didn’t just purchase remains, but hundreds of artifacts as well, which he turned over to the authorities.

The remains were determined by an anthropologist to be Native American based on cradle boarding, a pre-cursor to baby carriers of today. An archaeologist also confirmed that rock shelters, where the remains were dug up, were used for burials in Southern Ohio, specifically in Jackson County. DNA testing also confirmed a direct connection to present-day Natives living in the United States.

Beatty pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal that will include three years of probation including three months of house arrest, a $3,500 fine, and restitution of $1,000, which is to be paid to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and will be used for the reburial of the remains.

Beatty has also agreed to publish an advertisement in a newspaper warning others against engaging in illegal excavation of Native American remains and artifacts. As part of his plea he will also perform 100 hours of community service for a program that protects or promotes the interests of Native Americans.

A U.S. district judge still has to accept Beatty’s plea agreement, and no date has been set for his sentencing.

The grave robbers are still under investigation, and have not been charged, Frazier told the Dispatch.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I wonder what the penalty would have been had Mr. Beatty been Native American and had paid others to go into a White graveyard at night, dig up some inhabitants and sell them to him? I'd be willing to bet that he would have been in quite a bit more trouble, especially once the local populace had gotten wind of what he'd done!