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Animal activists charged with violence against UCLA researchers

April 20, 2009 |  3:38 pm

UCLA's Royce Hall Two animal liberation activists were charged with conspiracy, stalking and other felonies today after attacks on UCLA researchers who perform tests on animals and on the L.A.-based POM Wonderful Juice Co. Our colleague Andrew Blankstein on the L.A. Now blog reports:

Linda Faith Greene, 61, and Kevin Richard Olliff, 22, who prosecutors say are part of the radical Animal Liberation Front, pleaded not guilty to the charges after their arrest Thursday. Greene was held on $450,000 bail and Olliff on $460,000 bail.

The Los Angeles County grand jury indicted each defendant on three counts of conspiracy to commit stalking, three counts of stalking and two counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of threatening a public officer or school employee.

In the most recent attack on a UCLA faculty member, neuroscientist J. David Jentsch's car was set afire outside his Westside home. 

The Times' Larry Gordon recalled past incidents:

In the last three years, UCLA has reported at least 10 arsons, attempted arsons and other acts of vandalism against its professors and researchers, along with many unrealized threats. In February, four animal activists were arrested on allegations that they were involved in attacking and harassing animal researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, but no arrests have been made in any of the UCLA cases, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. She said the incidents are under investigation as acts of domestic terrorism.

The UC system has spent several million dollars in recent years to improve security around researchers' homes, classrooms and offices. Citing security concerns, Jentsch declined to have his photo taken for this article.

Two days after Jentsch's car was burned, a profanity-laced Internet message from the murky Animal Liberation Brigade took credit for the fire, as it had for past UCLA assaults.

For more information on the violence against UC researchers, see the Times' timeline of events.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A walkway at UCLA's Royce Hall. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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