Family Says Shaler Cemetery Workers Jumped On Casket To Get Body Into Ground

December 1, 2011
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PITTSBURGH — The family of a 91-year-old woman claims in a lawsuit that workers at a Catholic cemetery jumped up and down on top of the woman’s casket and otherwise jammed it into a snug grave by poking it with poles.

Theodore Zimmick, his daughter and granddaughter sued the Pittsburgh diocese and its Catholic Cemeteries Association over the burial of his mother, Agnes, on Dec. 1, 2009 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery in Shaler Township.

After the funeral service, the family says they went to visit the graves of other family members only to see workers allegedly stomping and walking on the casket and otherwise jamming it into the grave.

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“They just totally disrespected her body, her belief, and they did not handle the burial correctly at all,” Agnes Zimmick’s granddaughter, Lisa Carey, told Channel 4 Action News investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol.

Annabelle McGannon, executive director of the cemeteries association, says the family’s claims have been investigated and are “unfounded and greatly exaggerated.”
“Things don’t always go perfectly (with burials), but whatever has to be done is always done professionally,” McGannon said.

McGannon told Van Osdol that the workers never jumped directly on the casket. She says they may have jumped on the vault that contains the casket.

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