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Published: Tuesday, 7/17/2012

Michigan man found guilty of abuse of corpse

Lawrence J. Clement, 57, of Temperance worked part time at H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home but was fired after the incident. Lawrence J. Clement, 57, of Temperance worked part time at H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home but was fired after the incident.

A Temperance man will be sentenced next month after pleading no contest Monday to sexually abusing a corpse.

Lawrence J. Clement, 57, was found guilty of one count of abuse of a corpse by Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Stacy Cook.

Prior to the ruling, Clement's attorney, Ann Baronas, entered a no-contest plea for him, a change from his original plea of not guilty.

Clement was arrested in March and accused of treating the corpse of Brenda Shular-Cameron, who died of multiple organ failure at age 51, "in a way that would outrage reasonable community citizens," according to Mark Herr, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor.

Clement was found in a compromising position with the corpse at H.H. Birkenkamp Funeral Home, where he worked part time, and he admitted to having sexual contact with the body, Mr. Herr said Monday. Authorities previously said he had "sexual contact by means of touching the erogenous zones" of the victim.

He faces between six months and one year in prison and fines up to $2,500. Judge Cook set the sentencing for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 7.

Amber Thebeau-Tunison, the victim's daughter, said although she is thankful Clement was found guilty, she was hoping he would face more serious consequences.

"I think it was a little slap on the hand," she said. "I would have liked to see it a little higher up. … "

Ms. Thebeau-Tunison said she plans to return for Clement's sentencing and will deliver an impact statement detailing how this event has affected her life, especially in regard to her three children -- ages 2, 3, and 11 -- whom she said she tries to shield from the details because of the nature of the crime.

"I just tell them somebody did something bad to Grandma," she said. "They ask me what he did, and I can't tell them, I can't explain it to them, and I just tell them he's a bad man. … But it'll come out soon enough."

She said it's hard to deal with not knowing whether her mother is resting peacefully.

Clement was fired from the company after the incident.

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