Friday, March 2, 2012


Members of the L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network responded to reports of numerous bodies stacked on top of each other in disorganized and unsanitary conditions within the Cook County Morgue, some bodies lying unidentified and unclaimed for almost a year. The West Side pastors visited the Morgue on January 27 to examine conditions and to pray for the souls of the deceased. They demanded a thorough response to the tragedy by the Cook County Board and President Toni Preckwinkle. They also called for a remediation plan to ensure no repeat of this scandal and offered to be members of an oversight committee for Morgue operations. Reverend Cy Fields, President of the L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network, declared, “This is immoral and is disrespectful of the families of the dead. As pastors, we are moved with compassion to offer pastoral care for these unnamed souls.” Reverend Marshall Hatch stated, “Every human being deserves dignity in death. County officials must be held accountable to the citizens and to God for this sacred trust. Given the level of disorganization and neglect at the Morgue, any one of these bodies could have been any one of us.” Reverend Ira Acree said, “This is a national embarrassment. We should not have a pile-up of bodies in the downtown shadow of a world class city.” The L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network requested to meet with President Preckwinkle and offered to assist in resolving the crisis. They were taken up on their offer and were included with pastors from across Cook County in a briefing by the County Board President. The meeting was held February 1, and the West Side pastors characterized it as “fruitful and substantive.” They say they expect to review an overhaul plan in 30 days and said, “We have reason to believe that the public will be well served.” They also say they expect a community advisory board will be put in place. L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network members “offered to work with the President’s Office on a wide range of county issues,” according to Pastor Cy Fields, L.E.A.D.E.R.’s Network President.

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