Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Carl Kabat is Free After Guilty Verdict

Carl Kabat, Catholic priest and repeat offender as a "Fool for Christ" opposed to the nuclear-weapons establishment, was found guilty by a Weld County jury Dec. 22, but sentenced to time served, emerging from jail a free man. Carl had broken into a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo in New Raymer, CO, dressed in a clown suit, on Aug. 6, 2009, to protest nuclear proliferation. He remained in jail until Monday night, Dec. 21, when he allowed friends to finally make bail. As a last-minute strategy to tell his story in the way he wished, Carl fired his legal team Tuesday afternoon and testified on his commitments. Though the jury members felt they had to convict, several of them were crying as Carl cheered them on their way out of the courtroom.

I traveled to Greeley to be there on the first day of the trial, where nuclear resisters from across the country gathered to see Carl, including Chrissy Kirchhoefer from the St. Louis area where he lives, John LaForge from Nukewatch on the northern MN-WI border, and Frank Cordaro from Catholic Worker House in Des Moines. A crass county deputy wanted to jail LaForge, merely for saying hi to Carl.

The Greeley Tribune did an astounding recap of Carl's life in its Sunday edition, devoting most of the front page and two pages of an internal center spread to document his arrests that stretch back to the Carter administration. Several of the arrests involved felony charges that kept Kabat in prison for years. The Greeley action only warranted misdemeanor charges, probably because federal authorities had received bad publicity in 2002 when they sought felony charges against three nuns who broke into the same missile silo Carl did.

Here's a few random video shots outside the court on Day One. I couldn't even begin to tell the story of Carl's commitment the way the Greeley reporter did, so I'll just leave you with videos.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Good for Carl, good for you, good for the Greeley paper - GOOD!