Retired U.S. Official Negotiating Plea Deal Over Stolen Ancient Remains

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An attorney says a retired National Parks Service official is negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors related to the theft of ancient Native American remains from a museum collection.

Attorney Leon Spies says his client, former Effigy Mounds National Monument superintendent Thomas Munson, anticipates pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge. He says both sides are “within a cat’s whisker of reaching an accord.”

Spies says the case is “a stain” on his client’s productive government career, and the 76-year-old is eager to have it resolved.

Prosecutors charged Munson this week with embezzlement of government property, a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail. Munson is accused of removing boxes of ancient bones in 1990 and keeping them until 2012.

Spies says Munson’s motivation will soon become clear.