Published January 2, 2016
CEDAR RAPIDS – Thomas A. Munson, 76, from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, has agreed to plead guilty on Monday, January 4, 2015, to one count of embezzlement and theft for stealing American Indian remains while he was a National Park Service employee.
In December 2015, he was charged with the count after an investigation that lasted several years. He decided to work out a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to serve one year probation with home detention, including jail time for 10 consecutive weekends, and to make a public apology to 12 American Indian tribes in the Great Lakes region. He will be required to provide a video with audio to government officials.
Munson stole the ancient American Indian remains from a museum he managed in Iowa. While he was employed by the National Park Service, he was the superintendent of the Effigy Mounds National Monument.
He also has agreed to pay $108,000 in restitution for the costs associated with the restoration of the artifacts and to complete 100 hours of community service.
According to the plea agreement released by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Munson admits he took two boxes of human remains in July 1990 from a collection at the monument in northeast Iowa. The boxes contained the skeletal remains of 12 individuals that were excavated decades prior and were being held at the museum. Munson served as the superintendent from 1971 until his retirement in 1994.
Munson kept the boxes in the garage of his home for over 20 years.
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