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Huntington Beach man sentenced for trying to sell ancient skull

Associated Press


A man who tried to sell the 200-year-old skull of a native Hawaiian warrior on eBay was sentenced Monday to 600 hours of community service and ordered to publish an apology in several Hawaiian newspapers.

Jerry Hasson of Huntington Beach must also pay more than $13,000 and post the same apology on an eBay bulletin board dedicated to archaeological memorabilia.

Hasson, 56, told U.S. District Court Judge A. Howard Matz that he tried to sell the skull because he had been diagnosed with cancer and needed more money.

"I wasn't aware, I wasn't knowledgeable about how Hawaiians feel about native remains," Hasson said in court.

Hasson took the skull from an archaeological excavation near a Maui beach in 1969.

He had sneaked onto the beach with friends and found an entire skeleton - but only took the skull, Hasson wrote in his original posting on eBay.

A native Hawaiian saw the offering and told Hasson to remove it, which he did.

But an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs later contacted Hasson about the skull. Hasson told him that although he'd removed the ad from eBay, he was now offering the skull directly to "a handful of bidders."

Hasson pleaded guilty in January to a federal charge of engaging in interstate commerce with illegally unearthed archaeological items.

The skull will be returned to Hawaii with a portion of the money from Hasson's fee.