- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Sara Jane Olson’s husband said Thursday that the former 1970s radical won’t be speaking publicly, citing her parole conditions and critics’ opposition to her serving her parole in the state where she hid as a fugitive for more than two decades.

Olson, who returned to her adopted state on Wednesday after being freed from a California prison, checked in with her parole officer on her first full day back.

Her husband, Fred Peterson, told The Associated Press in an e-mail afterward that Olson could not do interviews because they “do not comply with the conditions of Sara’s parole.” But in a follow-up note, Peterson also cited strong opposition by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others to Olson serving her parole in Minnesota.

“Giving the police union’s and Gov Pawlenty’s statements, of course allowed by the 1st amendment, our interpretation of parole conditions is that Sara should not make public comments, for our family’s safety,” Peterson wrote.

Olson, 62, was freed in California on Tuesday after serving half a 14-year sentence for crimes committed with the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Arrested in 1999, she pleaded guilty to participating in the SLA’s deadly 1975 robbery of a Sacramento-area bank and helping place pipe bombs under Los Angeles Police Department patrol cars. While she was a fugitive, she discarded her birth name of Kathleen Soliah and assumed a new persona in St. Paul as a housewife, mother, community volunteer and actress.

Pawlenty and the police unions in Los Angeles and St. Paul had urged California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make Olson serve her one-year parole in that state. Schwarzenegger said he deferred the decision to the corrections department.

A spokesman for Pawlenty didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Peterson’s statement.

Dave Titus, the president of the St. Paul Police Federation, had written to Schwarzenegger questioning whether Olson’s old neighbors would turn her in if she did anything wrong.

On Thursday, Titus said he had “no idea if there are wackos out there” that would attempt to harm Olson or her family.

He added: “I guarantee that the St. Paul Police Federation would not condone such and the officers would absolutely do everything in their ability to do everything to make sure her and her family are secure while they’re in our great city.”

Ramsey County parole office spokesman Chris Crutchfield gave few details of Olson’s meeting with her parole officer, but said she would be subject to a long list of standard parole conditions. Those included abstaining from drugs and alcohol, not having guns or other weapons, submitting to unannounced searches and not leaving the state without approval.

California’s terms specify that she cannot associate with former SLA members or co-defendants, including her brother, Steven Soliah.

Crutchfield said some of California’s restrictions were not made public. A spokeswoman for the California prison system didn’t immediately return a call.


Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed to this story.

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