A Catholic priest who was sentenced to 45 days in jail after violating probation was released Tuesday and vowed immediately to resume taking part in abortion protests.
The Rev. Edward Kaicher, the first priest in the county arrested or jailed for anti-abortion activities, was set free from the Descanso honor camp shortly after midnight, having served 22 days.
When Kaicher was sentenced by El Cajon Municipal Judge Larrie R. Brainard on Oct. 31, he was told that, with good-time credits, he could be freed by the end of November.
"You get one day off for every two days of good behavior," Kaicher said. "That took it down to 30. Because of crowding in the jails, the grand jury has ruled that everyone gets an extra five taken off. That took it to 25. Then, I got three more for being a work trusty inside the jail."
Kaicher, a 35-year-old Lakeside native whose parish is in Solana Beach, became emotional in vowing to resume his protests.
"In my 22 days of imprisonment, there were 88,000 unborn children slaughtered, and that holocaust has not stopped, nor has my stand changed in the least," he said. "If anything, I feel more committed than ever before. Now, one of the unknowns has been dealt with, which is, 'What is it like to be imprisoned?' I'm not afraid of it. I don't relish the thought of returning to jail, but I know what it's like, and I will risk it. I'll do anything I can to save unborn children."
On Feb. 1, Kaicher was sentenced to two years' probation after pleading no contest to a charge of criminal trespass stemming from a protest Sept. 30, 1988, at a La Mesa abortion clinic.
One term of his probation was that he not block any doorway or access to any medical clinic nor direct anyone else to do so. Kaicher admitted, however, that he violated that stipulation at protests March 18, June 10 and July 8.
He said at the Feb. 1 hearing that, although he would take part in abortion protests, he would abide by the probation terms.
On Tuesday, he said he would continue to be "involved, on a number of different levels in the movement and in Operation Rescue." He described the latter as a "nationwide movement whereby people physically block the entrance to abortion clinics."