Another SCI Cemetery Scandal– Allegations that SCI Desecrated Graves in LA Cemetery
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Siouxsie has written about SCI and their cemetery scandals before: here, here, and here. Until SCI cleans up their act, Siouxsie is going to keep blogging about them. The latest scandal takes place at Eden Memorial Park, in Mission Hills, California, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the LA area. It is the burial site of two of the funniest men ever: Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce. But, there is nothing funny about the alleged shenanigans here.
Upon death, Jewish tradition requires that a body be returned to the earth as soon as possible. Usually, burial takes place within 24-hours of death. This rush to bury allegedly caused Eden Memorial Park to cut corners.
This story broke in September. Families brought a class-action lawsuit against SCI (the Wal-Mart of cemeteries and funeral homes) for desecration of graves. The complaint alleges that the cemetery instructed its groundskeepers to use backhoes to break into buried concrete interment vaults, which contained caskets, to make space for new vaults. According to the complaint, these actions damaged caskets and caused human remains to fall out.
For your reading pleasure, here is a copy of the complaint.
This recent L.A. Times article brought the scandal to Siouxsie’s attention. The article declares that California officials found no wrongdoing at the cemetery.
Not so fast. If you read the article closely, it raises a lot more questions than it answers.
The investigators word their denials pretty carefully — “We did not find any evidence of 500 graves disturbed over 15 years“; “We have not seen any evidence of the kind of massive desecration that [is] being alleged.”
Okay then, what was found? Neither the investigators nor the article says.
The article mentions that state regulators issued a warning letter in June 2008 to Eden Memorial because their investigation found that five graves had indeed been disturbed. Other than this letter, the state took no other action.
What? Way to go state officials!
And as for the state’s “investigation,” when family members complained about their desecration concerns, state officials “asked the dozens of families that contacted officials to look for signs of disturbances — shifted or cracked gravestones or anything else that appeared altered . . . .” Apparently, California’s budget woes have caused these officials to adopt a DIY approach for consumer complaints. Or maybe the regulators have seen too many zombie movies and were just waiting for the undead to rise from their graves and tell them about grave desecration at the cemetery.
In any event, Siouxsie is rooting for the plaintiffs to make SCI do the right thing here. SCI needs to come clean and pay up. It is obscene to think that SCI may have desecrated Lenny’s grave.