Former Penn curator sues news outlets over coverage of her handling of MOVE victim remains

Former Penn curator sues news outlets over coverage of her handling of MOVE victim remains

Janet Monge, ex-curator-in-charge of the Penn Museum, is suing University of Pennsylvania, various media outlets and the Association of Black Anthropologists. “false”And “defamatory”Reports of her alleged mishandling remains of 1985 MOVE bombing victim.

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Driving the news:Monge, an Anthropologist, filed the lawsuit against more than 30 defendants on Friday, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Billy Penn.

  • Monge claims she suffered damage to her reputation, and was deposed from her position following Billy Penn and other outlets publishing articles last year alleging that Monge and Alan Mann kept the remains of a MOVE Bombing victim and that Monge used them for an online course.

Get on top of things fast In 1985, the city of Philadelphia bombed a West Philadelphia house on Osage Avenue. This was where members of MOVE, a Black liberation organization, lived. Six adults and five kids were killed.

  • Mann children’s bone fragments were given to the city’s medical examiner by Mann after the bombing, in order for him to identify them. Although he wasn’t able, the remains weren’t returned.
  • Last May, the city announced that Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s former health commissioner, ordered cremation of a separate set MOVE bombing victim remains without notifying relatives. The order was never executed.

Between the lines: A Tucker Law group reportWe examined Penn’s 1985 bombing remains and how they were taken into Penn’s custody. They were then used in an online course in 2019.

  • The group stated that Monge was not a Mann. “violate any professional, ethical or legal standards,”But “demonstrated at a minimum, poor judgment and insensitivity.”

What she’s saying is:Monge claims that she spent 36 years trying identify bone fragments from the remains.

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  • She claims that “defamatory”Her former colleagues, University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidates Paul Mitchell and Deborah Thomas, initiated media reports in part as a retaliation to Monge reporting Mitchell. “unprofessional conduct.”
  • Monge also claims Mitchell falsified his information “then-girlfriend”Maya Kassutto was the one who wrote the first report for Billy Penn, before the story was picked by numerous local and national outlets.

  • Alan Epstein, Monge’s lawyer declined to comment further. “the complaint speaks for itself.”

Context: Both Billy PennAnd the Philadelphia InquirerThe story was published the same day last spring.

  • Kassutto was previously employed at Penn Museum, and was an intern in physical anthropology.

The answer: Mitchell stated this in a statement to Axios. “claims, including those about me, which form the basis of Dr. Monge’s complaint are substantially and demonstrably false.”

  • Kassutto declined to comment. Thomas didn’t return Axios’ request for comment.
  • Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, the Inquirer reporter, said that the media reports, including theirs, were not mischaracterized, and that Mitchell was not their source.
  • “I think it’s to intimidate and scare people who have been involved in the reporting, and I don’t think it has merit,”Muhammad told Axios about Monge’s lawsuit.

Editor’s note: Taylor Allen, Axios Philadelphia journalist, previously worked at WHYY.

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