Two animal rights activists have been charged with threatening and harassing UCLA scientists who use animals in their research, according to a Los Angeles County grand jury indictment unsealed Monday.
Linda Faith Greene, 61, and Kevin Richard Olliff, 22, were charged March 27 with 10 felonies, including stalking and conspiracy to threaten a school employee. Along with targeting UCLA faculty members, they were accused of holding threatening protests against research near the homes of executives of the POM Wonderful Juice company.
Greene, who is being held on $450,000 bail, and Olliff, in custody on $460,000 bail, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Neither could be reached for comment.
UCLA officials have reported at least 10 arsons, attempted arsons, vandalism and threats against researchers and their families in the last three years. Greene and Olliff were not charged, however, with any of the arsons.
The indictment alleged that Greene and others with the North American Animal Liberation Press Office posted claims from unidentified activists about an explosive reportedly left on the doorstep of UCLA psychiatry professor Lynn Fairbanks in June 2006. The device, which had been lighted but did not ignite, was actually planted at a neighbor's home.
The next month, prosecutors allege, Greene, Olliff and others demonstrated outside Fairbanks' house and chanted obscene slogans about burning it down.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block expressed gratitude Monday to UCLA's police, other law enforcement agencies and the L.A. County district attorney's office "for recognizing the seriousness of the crimes against our researchers."
The indictment comes at a sensitive time in the debate at UCLA over research that uses animals. The campus is bracing for dueling rallies Wednesday, one from a newly formed group that supports the research and the other by protesters who contend that UCLA scientists are torturing animals.
UCLA neuroscientist J. David Jentsch, whose car was set on fire last month, is organizing the pro-research rally. He said Monday he was pleased by the indictments and eager to see more arrests in the cases.