Sunday, July 19, 2009
A Different Take On The Burr Oak Cemetery Controversy
An ABC 7 News report out of Chicago suggests there may be another explanation for cemetery workers digging up grave sites and selling new plots on the site of the old ones. Reporter Charles Thomas says many African-Americans traditionally purchased non-perpetual plots. Under such agreements, a deceased person's family may rent a burial spot for a period of twenty years as a cost-saving measure if they couldn't afford a perpetual plot. When the term expires, the body is dug up and buried at a mass burial site. Illinois law apparently does not regulate how cemeteries dig up and dispose of those human remains in such cases. His report does not confirm that was what happened at Burr Oak, but it could make Cook Co. Sheriff Tom Dart, who spearheaded the investigation, look pretty silly if that proves to be the case. He has jailed four of those workers on felony charges. It could also bar many lawsuits filed already against the cemetery for the emotional distress family members said they suffered as a result of learning the news.