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Animal rights activist admits targeting UCLA researchers; another pleads no contest to stalking, conspiracy charges

March 19, 2010 |  6:46 pm

One animal rights activist pleaded guilty and another pleaded no contest this week to charges related to protests held against UCLA researchers and juice company executives, prosecutors said Friday.

Kevin Richard Olliff, 22, pleaded no contest Friday to felony stalking and conspiracy charges, a day after Linda Faith Greene, 62, pleaded guilty to similar charges. Both are affiliated with the Animal Liberation Front, an underground network of activists that has claimed responsibility for sabotaging animal research labs, setting fires, flooding properties and making death threats against researchers.

Last year, Los Angeles County grand jurors indicted Olliff and Greene on charges that they had harassed UCLA scientists who use animals in their research and held threatening protests near the homes of executives of the POM Wonderful juice company.

Olliff and Greene were among five activists named in a 2008 injunction that barred contact between animal rights activists and UCLA researchers.

As part of a negotiated settlement, prosecutors said Olliff signed a plea agreement saying “I admit that I am an animal rights activist who engaged in demonstrations targeting specific professors, researchers and business people at the personal residences and at their workplace, including the UCLA campus."

Olliff faces up to three years in state prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Greene signed a plea agreement acknowledging she worked for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office website and had posted “specific and personal identifying information about persons engaged in lawful scientific research involving animals.”

Greene’s settlement requires five years of strict probation, during which she cannot belong to animal rights organizations and must stay away from victims’ homes and workplaces and UC property. She is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

UCLA officials welcomed the news.

"While we respect the rights of those who take a different view of animal research, we are committed to protecting our researchers from harassment and providing an environment where they can continue their work toward cures and a greater understanding of the human body," Chancellor Gene Block said in a written statement.

-- Tony Barboza