Sunday, March 15, 2009

SARA JANE OLSON To be release from Prison


SARA JANE OLSON, a convicted domestic terrorist, is due to be released from prison next week. Olson had attempted to kill L.A. police officers with car bombs. Olson had also participated in a bank robbery near Sacramento. Olson was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Olson has served 7 years for her crimes.

Police leagues in L.A. object to the terms of her parole. SARA JANE OLSON has family in Minnesota and intends to fly home after her release Tuesday March 17. Olson is now 62. Olson had committed the crimes in the 1970s and became a fugitive for about 25 years. Olson escaped to Minnesota and is married to Dr. Gerald “Fred” Peterson in Minnesota.

SARA JANE OLSON was arrested after she was featured on the TV show, “America’s Most Wanted”. Someone gave a tip and SARA JANE OLSON, was arrested on June 1999.

SARA JANE OLSON committed her crimes in California. Police in Calif. want Olson to serve her parole in California. People in California and Minnesota have mixed views on SARA JANE OLSON serving her parole in her adopted home state.

Seven years after SARA JANE OLSON went to prison for plotting to bomb police cars in Los Angeles and participating in a deadly bank robbery, onetime '60s and '70s radical SARA JANE OLSON is scheduled to return Tuesday to the comfortable life she once led in St. Paul.

But can she really come home again?

SARA JANE OLSON, 62, remains one of Minnesota's more polarizing figures, as was demonstrated last week when the St. Paul police union sent a letter asking California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to require that she serve her parole there.

For others, SARA JANE OLSON's past is now past, her sentence served for crimes committed during the Vietnam era that is fast fading into history.

"I think the community reaction will break down along the similar quasi-political lines we saw before, but it will be more subdued," said Stephen Cooper, a local lawyer who helped coordinate Olson's $1 million bail fund a decade ago.

Cooper is among those who view the Vietnam era, and the various forms of dissent that came with it, as a unique chapter in America's history.

"For many people, what happened in the '60s was not representative of where their lives went afterwards and they feel you shouldn't be held accountable by the same standards as you would in the '90s," Cooper said. "Other people didn't buy that."

Dave Titus, president of the St. Paul Police Federation, is one of them. His fellow cops will be in the awkward position of protecting someone whom many of them loathe.

"There was never a decade when it was appropriate to commit the crimes she did," said Titus, who refuses to call Olson by anything but her birth name, Soliah.

SARA JANE OLSON was among those caught up on the radical fringe, associating with the violent Symbionese Liberation Army in the mid 1970s, before taking up her new life, under a new name, in St. Paul, raising three daughters and working as an actress and political activist.

SARA JANE OLSON's husband, Dr. Fred Peterson, wants a low-key homecoming and hopes the family's privacy will be respected.

"It's old news to us, and she'll be welcomed back to the neighborhood," said Patricia Kramer, 70, who lives across the street from Olson's Tudor-style home in Highland Park.

Leaders at SARA JANE OLSON's Minnehaha United Methodist Church declined to discuss her return. But her friends can't wait to see her.

"I am so delighted she is finally coming home," said Andy Dawkins, a former St. Paul legislator and onetime mayoral candidate. "Her friends have remained her friends throughout and will be her friends without question immediately."

Dawkins said SARA JANE OLSON has paid her debt to society.

"Now it's time to move on and those of us who knew her for all the value she added to our lives are going to want to embrace her," Dawkins said. "I think this is going to be a great day for that family. They've stayed with her all the way and it just shows what a good job she did as a mom."

SARA JANE OLSON's daughters are all in their 20s now, so friends expect she'll have plenty of time to become active in the community again.

"Sara is somebody who feels strongly about social justice issues and I imagine she'll want to contribute," said Mary Ellen Kaluza, who befriended Olson years ago when they were working on local anti- Apartheid efforts.

"I just hope she has a quiet and peaceful homecoming and gets to enjoy reuniting with her family," Kaluza said.

All the well-wishing makes others cringe, though.

Titus sent the letter to Schwarzenegger, asking him to force Olson to serve parole in his state because Minnesota neighbors might fail to report parole violations.

"Here's a person who lived a lie and ran like a coward and hid," Titus said. "Soliah is a fraud after all those years on the lam, and I don't think people like that."

Thirty-four years after her crimes, a decade after her arrest and seven years after being locked up, Olson may continue to serve as something of a Rorschach test for attitudes about the '60s and '70s.

"Some people think she paid excessively heavy dues and other people think she didn't pay enough dues," Cooper said. "Nonetheless, dues have been paid and I think a lot of the initial polarization she created, by now, should be reduced."