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Man Charged With Trying to Sell Old Skull


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Man Charged With Trying to Sell Old Skull

By Associated Press

September 9, 2004, 10:26 AM EDT

LOS ANGELES -- A California man was charged Wednesday with breaking a federal law that protects archaeological finds by trying to sell the skull of a Hawaiian native born 200 years ago, authorities said.

Jerry David Hasson, 55, of Huntington Beach is accused of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities contend he put the skeletal remains on sale on eBay in February, claiming the warrior died on Maui in the 1790s.

On the site, Hasson claimed he found the skull and other remains at a guarded excavation location on Kaanapali Beach in 1969, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Central District of California.

After the skull was placed on eBay, a member of the Native Hawaiian group Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei warned Hasson that selling the skull was a violation of federal law, prosecutors said.

Hasson was advised to terminate the sale and turn the skull over to the group for ceremonial reburial, they said.

An undercover agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs arranged to buy the skull.

Authorities said Hasson tried to get around the law by arranging for the agent to pay him $2,500 for a comic book and get the skull as a gift at the same time.

An anthropologist at the University of Hawaii determined the skull was that of an adult female of Polynesian ancestry who was around 50 when she died.

Hasson did not immediately return a call seeking comment. He could face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

newsday.com

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