Feeds

eBay Hawaiian skull vendor avoids jail

Community service, $10k fine plus apology

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A California man who attempted to sell a 200-year-old Hawaiian skull on eBay has avoided jail on a federal rap and will instead do 600 hours community service, pay a $10,000 fine to the "victims" of the crime and issue an apology to Hawaii's citizens in three newspapers.

Jerry David Hasson, 55, was charged in September on a single count of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Our report at the time gave the bizarre background to Hasson's crime and subsequent arrest.

In February 2004, Hasson placed the skull of "200 year-old warrior [who] died on Maui in the 1790s" up for auction on eBay, with bidding starting at $1,000 and an immediate purchase price of $12,500, according to prosecutors. In his eBay auction, Hasson said he took the skull as a souvenir from a guarded excavation site at Kaanapali Beach, Maui in 1969. He claimed the skull and other skeletal remains on beach were those of Hawaiian warriors who fought with or against Hawaii's legendary King Kamehameha.

The auction reached the attention of a member of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei (Group Caring for the Ancestors of Hawaii). A member of the organisation warned Hasson that selling the skull was a violation of federal law. The "tomb raider" was told to abandon the sale and return it to the native Hawaiian organisation for ceremonial reburial. Hasson unwisely ignored this advice.

Later an undercover agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs contacted Hasson and negotiated purchase of the skull. During negotiations leading up to the sale Hasson revealed that he realised that selling an antiquity might be illegal, so he arranged a roundabout way of flogging the item. The agent was given the skull as a "gift" after purchasing a collector's edition of a comic book (worth approximately $20) for $2,500.

Hasson's account of the find, as reported in an affidavit by the undercover investigator, makes for fascinating reading. The Honolulu Star Bulletin reports that Hasson claimed to the investigator that he evaded guards and sneaked into the site one night with some friends. There he dug into the sand and found part of a leg before continuing his excavation and finding the skull.

The skull was later found to belong to a woman of around 50 years of age.

Under his plea bargain, Hasson will pay $10,000 to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei. He is due to enter his guilty plea in US District Court next week.

Related stories

eBay Hawaiian skull vendor on federal rap
eBay India boss cuffed in porn vid scandal
eBay trader arrested in missing DVDs probe
Man charged after flight manual appears on eBay

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.