An Athens County man sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison for stealing and selling human remains had a message yesterday for other addicts:
“Addiction is a horrible, dark place, but you can get out of it.”
Weston Henri Moquin hopes he has, he said yesterday after U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus handed down the prison sentence and ordered him to pay $84,684 in restitution.
He could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison for transporting stolen bones across state lines and stealing from a federally funded agency.
Moquin, 29, a recovering drug addict, said he’s grateful he was caught and convicted.
“I could have been in a lot worse place,” he said. “My alternative could have been death.”
Moquin, of Athens, stole human remains from Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine lab, where he worked as an assistant, and sold them to bone dealers between July 2011 and June 2012.
The FBI began investigating after a student employee found a spreadsheet that suggested Moquin was selling human body parts.
The stolen remains included a fetus, two skulls and two shoulder bones. The university has said they were from the school’s teaching collection and were thought to have been purchased from an anatomical-supply company years ago.
Moquin sold them for more than $84,000, mostly through an eBay account.
Economus chastised him for his inability to stay clean over the past decade.
“See what a mess you’ve gotten yourself into,” Economus lectured. “Is this the kind of life you want to lead, Mr. Moquin?”
“No, sir,” Moquin responded.
His attorney, Keith A. Yeazel, said Moquin’s drug habit began 10 years ago when he became addicted to prescription pain medications after a motorcycle crash. Eventually, he started buying drugs on the street.
“It’s a chronic, relapsing disease,” Yeazel said, arguing that his client should get probation. “ Every time he uses, he gets in trouble.”
His mother, two aunts, his stepfather and a former employer asked Economus in letters to put Moquin on probation.
“I know my son’s heart,” wrote Jean Reed, his mother. “I know he is intelligent and caring and wants to find and have a better life. He made a big mistake, and ... he will forever pay for it in one way or another.”
Moquin was in a rehabilitation program last summer and worked for the program for seven months after his treatment, court records show. He also has worked in his father’s funeral home, in a nursing center and as a white-water-rafting guide.
He said he has been off narcotics for 342 days as of yesterday, marred only by a two-day alcohol binge in March.
“My biggest thing is, I have to accept responsibility for what I did,” he said.
By Kathy Lynn Gray - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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