Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fr Carl Kabat "Protesting priest guilty, free, defiant ..." will beback in St Louis tonight

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 5:10 PM
From Frank Cordaro

*Fr Carl is in route to St Louis with Steve Jacobs and Crissy Kirchhoefer. They picked up their car at the Omaha CW this afternoon.   Fr Carl should be back in St Louis tonight. You can contact Fr. Carl by mail at: Carl Kabat Catholic Worker House, 1450 Monroe, St Louis MO 63106 or by phone 314.621.7099


December 23, 2009

Greeley Tribune


"Protesting priest guilty, free, defiant"


Sharon Dunn


In the end, a jury had no choice but to convict.


The Rev. Carl Kabat, 76, was photographed at the N-8 missile silo in

northeast Weld County. Two-foot bolt cutters were found on the ground.

There was a hole in the fence surrounding the facility, and he was

waiting inside for his eventual arrest.


Kabat had breached nuclear missile facilities like these for the past

two decades, and had 17 convictions behind him in his quest to do his

small part to rid the earth of nuclear weapons, which the Catholic

Church has deemed a crime against humanity.


But the members of the jury had to look beyond the message. After one

hour of deliberations, they convicted him of the two misdemeanor

criminal mischief and trespassing charges.


“We understand what he was standing for,” said jury member Ben

Salgado, 56, of Windsor, after the verdict. “We just wish he would

have chosen a different forum.”


As the jury was dismissed, Kabat applauded them, some walking out with

tears in their eyes. One said as she left the courthouse: “It was very



The St. Louis priest was immediately sentenced to the time he'd

already served behind bars — 137 days — though deputy district

attorney David Skarka asked for the maximum of one year for each of

the misdemeanors to be served back to back. The county already had

shelled out roughly $7,950 to keep him in jail for almost five months,

based on a cost of about $58 per day per inmate. Had he been sentenced

to Skarka's request, the county would have paid $26,000 more to keep

him for a remaining 456 days.


“It's unfortunate that they didn't have any significant stance,” Kabat

said as he left the courthouse. “I understand because these people are

ordinary people, and they don't realize the power they have ... or the

insanity (of those weapons) in the ground.”


Weld County Court Judge Dana Nichols opted not to fine Kabat but did

impose standard court costs totaling $254.50 and gave the prosecution

time to file a notice of restitution to Warren Air Force Base for

damages. Kabat promised more civil disobedience.


“I will not make restitution, or pay fines or make any payments. That

will be supporting nuclear weapons,” Kabat vowed.


That capped a two-day trial that brought with it one big twist: After

his attorneys presented to the jury a multitude of banners he had hung

up at the silo facility, Kabat fired them — a move he'd planned months

ago so he would have the freedom to say what he wanted to say in



But Kabat's testimony on his own behalf didn't go quite the way he

planned, as evidenced by the prosecution's objections to him

continually bringing up arguments about the destructive power of

weapons of mass destruction.


“I wish you'd object to nuclear weapons,” Kabat said.


After several attempts by Nichols to get Kabat to focus on the

evidence against him, Kabat decided it didn't matter what he said.


The jury members, however, immediately wrote down their questions.


One juror asked why he wouldn't rather just protest peacefully outside

the perimeter of the fence.


“Why in the civil rights (era) did they march down the street when

they said, ‘You can't march down the street?' Because it's wrong,”

Kabat answered. “I guess I think it's up to us to try to get rid of

these things.”


Skarka asked him simply, “Are you above the law?”


Kabat replied: “All wrong law, yes. God's law is above all these

man-made things.”


During his closing arguments, Kabat quoted Albert Einstein and Ghandi,

and he beseeched the jury to be the conscience of a nation.


“I don't know you, but you are my sisters and brothers,” Kabat said.

“We're all God's children, and we have to look after one another. We

have to be significant actors. How many times have you written to your

senator, to your congressman? ... For some of us, (it's been)

countless times.”


Salgado, of the jury, a postal worker by trade and a former military

man, said the potential sentence did weigh on the jury's mind.


“That really weighed on all of our hearts,” he said. “It wasn't an

aggressive (protest), and he wasn't in there to really damage things.

It was just a political statement.”


He said the trial was an eye-opener, however. Some on the jury, he

said, didn't even know there were silos in Colorado. But, he said, he

wouldn't be surprised to see Kabat protesting again someday. Kabat had

earlier said he'd be happy to die in prison for peace.


“I think he's the type of guy that stands for his faith and what he

believes,” Salgado said. “I wouldn't be surprised at all, actually.”





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