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Home About Us Prisoners of Conscience 2004 - SOA 14 About the 2004 SOA 14
About the 2004 SOA 14 PDF Print E-mail
The SOA 14


In the back from left to right: Aaron Shuman, Meagan Doty, Liz Deligio, Nashua Chantal, Dan Schwankl, Brian DeRouen, Mike Ring. In the front: Alex McCann, Ron Durham, Alice Gerard, Tom McLean, Sr. Lil Mattingly, and Elizabeth Nadeau.

On November 21, 2004 fifteen people took nonviolent action to close the SOA/ WHINSEC by crossing onto Fort Benning, home of the notorious school. They took this action despite knowing they likely faced three to six months in federal prison. Fourteen of those arrested on the military base were arrested and charged with trespass. One person, Ed Lewinson, was not charged. The fourteen were tried the week of January 24, 2005. Read more about their arrests and trials. Read a summary of final sentences for the SOA 14.

June Update: Seven of the SOA 14 were released from prison in early June after completing their 90 day sentences. The seven are: Nashua Chantal, Liz Deligio, Meagan Doty, Ron Durham, Tom Maclean, Elizabeth Nadeau and Dan Schwankl. Four remain in prison, scheduled for release in July and September.

July Update: Two more of the SOA 14, Brian DeRouen and Aaron Shuman, were released from prison after completing their four-month sentences. Two, Alice Gerard and Sr. Lil Mattingly, remain in prison.

September Update: We are happy to announce that Sister Lil Mattingly and Alice Gerard, the final two prisoners of the group of 14, have been released from prison.
The fourteen people who were on trial are:
    Nashua Chantal, 52, Americus, GA

    Nashua volunteers with the Heart to Heart program providing housing to the poor. He also enjoys teaching ceramics and pottery and working with international youth groups. He says it is this work that encourages him to be what he is today and that Christ plays an important role in guiding him to work in the pursuit of justice.

    Read Nashua's statement.
    Sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine.

    Released on Friday, June 10th


    Elizabeth Deligio, 28, Chicago, IL

    Liz is the chapalin for Misericordia, a home for developmentally disabled adults. She is also a full time student at Catholic Theological Union earning a Masters of Divinity.

    Read Liz Deligio's statement here.
    Sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine


    Released on Friday, June 10th


    Brian DeRouen, 27, Dayton, OH

    This is not Brian’s first experience with civil disobedience. He has been arrested several times in actions bringing attention to peace and justice issues, including an action at the federal building in San Francisco. Brian is a second-year graduate student at the University of Dayton in the Theological Studies program. He also works in the Center for Social Concern as a graduate assistant. Through this work Brian organized trips to El Salvador, urban plunges and to the vigils at Fort Benning. He has also taught classes on voluntary simplicity.

    Brian is a skilled cyclist and participated on the national team. He is excited to be newly engaged to Kathleen Saurber, who has been supporting him throughout this process.

    Read Brian DeRouen's statement here.
    Read "There Must be a Better Way," an article by Brian DeRouen

    Sentenced to four months in prison and a $500 fine.

    Released on Friday, July 8.
    Meagan Doty, 22, Dayton, OH

    Originally from St. Louis, Meagan is currently a senior at the University of Dayton. Her studies have been concentrated on sociology and human rights issues. She first learned about the SOA in high school when a class discussion focused on the life of Oscar Romero and his assassination by graduates of the school. While in college she spent a summer living in an agricultural community in Honduras where she saw the implications of U.S. foreign policy. This experience solidified her disagreement with the U.S. government and sparked her need to put her beliefs into action. Meagan works for peace and justice issues at the Center for Social Concern at her university.

    When she finishes her sentence, Meagan hopes to participate in a volunteer program. She sees this experience as opening the door to other opportunities in social justice work. Meagan is very thankful to her mother and brother and also to her community back at Dayton for their support throughout this experience.

    Read Meagan's statement.
    Read an article about Meagan in the Jefferson County Journal.
    Sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine

    Released on Friday, June 10th


    Ron Durham, 23, Chicago, IL

    A native to the Boston area, Ron attended Villanova University outside of Philadelphia where he majored in sociology. After graduating, Ron spent a year volunteering at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago where he worked with inner-city youth ages 14-16. In July of 2004, he moved to the St. Francis Catholic Worker, also in Chicago. There he directs his energy to issues of homelessness and providing short-term housing and hospitality to guests at the house. He is grateful for the opportunity to live in solidarity with social justice movements and be connected with other people who have participated in civil disobedience.

    Ron plans to continue working to bring attention to the unjust economic conditions the U.S. imposes on Latin America and the use of military force for political advantage. Ron was raised by his mom, Jeanne, and thanks her for all her support.

    Read Ron's statement.
    Read an article in the The Villanovan about Ron Durham.
    Sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine

    Released on Friday, June 10th


    Alice Gerard, 48, Buffalo, NY

    This is Alice’s second time crossing onto Fort Benning. Last year she served three months in federal prison. She chose to take the action again when she saw accounts of the U.S. military torturing Iraqi prisoners. This made her think about her classmate in language school in Guatemala, Sr. Dianna Ortiz, who was tortured by graduates of the SOA.

    When she’s not in prison, Alice works as assistant managing editor of the Buffalo Alternative Press, a job she’s enjoyed for more than 13 years. She has written extensively about the SOA/WHINSEC in addition to other Latin American issues. She also had the opportunity to spend a week on the Texas/Mexico border through a program called Border Witness. There she was shocked to see first-hand the horrible treatment of refugees by the border patrol.

    Read an article in the Buffalo News about Alice.
    Read an article Alice published in the Buffalo Alt Press.
    Read Alice's statement here.
    Sentenced to six months in a federal prison and a $500 dollar fine

    Released on September 12, 2005

    Tom Maclean, 79, Greenfield, MA

    With a long history of social activism, Tom is dedicated to principles of justice and non-violence. In 1970, after twenty years of working for Boeing as a chemist, Tom gave up that line of work and started refusing to pay “war taxes.” In 1976, he participated in a cross-country walk for global disarmament with the War Resisters’ League. He has also traveled with the Peace Brigades to Sri Lanka to provide accompaniment to nonviolent activists receiving death threats. Tom is the author of Village of Affection and is currently writing about economic disarmament. This work focuses on the economic practices that the U.S. government uses as weapons against other countries, preventing friendly economic relationships.

    Tom has spent the last 35 years living in intentional communities and enjoys the security and exploration that he has found in that lifestyle. Tom has recently been volunteering with the Handy Neighbor Volunteers fixing the homes of the elderly. He has been married and has three sons that have supported him in his actions.

    Click here to read articles about Tom in The Republican or in Greenfield.
    Sentenced to 90 days in a federal medical facility

    Released on June 3rd


    Sr. Lil Mattingly, MM, 63, Maryknoll, NY

    Lil says her involvement with SOA Watch has been from the beginning in spirit, but she wasn't able to start taking part in the prayer protests at Fort Benning in November and in DC in the spring until she came back from Bolivia. She lived and worked as a Maryknoll Sister in Bolivia from 1971 until 1997, and she feels privileged that she had 20 years there in various parts of the country.

    “I have felt very personally involved because I knew all four of the Churchwomen who were violated and killed in El Salvador in 1980. Two were our Sisters, Maura Clarke and Ita Ford. Three of the five Salvadoran soldiers later convicted of that crime were trained at the SOA. Years earlier, when I first went to Bolivia, it was in the same month that General Hugo Banzer Suarez was responsible for a bloody coup, taking over the government and ruling as a brutal dictator until 1978. Not only was he responsible for torture and killings, but his policies opened the way for Bolivia to be in eternal debt because of his alliance with the U.S. in implementing neoliberal economic policies, which continue to crush the poor.

    "I have been able to go each year since 1997 to pray and protest at Ft. Benning, and I was finally able this year to plant a cross with the names of Maura, Ita, Dorothy, Jean on the property where the persons who killed them were trained. I feel grateful for the chance to join so many others who have spoken ‘truth to power’ and to denounce the harm that has and is being done to others by this 'school'... The SOA Watch movement brings thousands together each year in the most prayerful, peaceful, and powerful expression of solidarity that I have ever experienced, and I go away feeling energized to work for peace, justice, and solidarity for the next year.”


    A 27-minute video interview with Sr. Lil is available. Click here for more details.

    Read Lil's statement.
    Read an article about Sr. Lil Mattingly in The Journal News.
    Sentenced to six months in federal prison

    Released on September 12th

    Elizabeth Nadeau, 27, Minneapolis, MN


    An anthropology student at the University of Minnesota, Elizabeth is also an associate member of the Steelworkers Union. The Twin Cities have been her home since 2002, and she is currently working at a group home for mentally ill, chemically dependent adults and at a local cooperative grocery store.

    The SOA was brought to her attention by the witness of workers who have been forced to flee the persecution of the paramilitaries in Colombia who threatened their lives and families because they were organizing in unions. She came to Ft. Benning in November to stand vigil with her sisters and brothers from Colombia and around the world who have experienced violence at the hands of graduates of the institution.

    "Violence and poverty are not accidental conditions but rather the specific consequences of decisions made by people. Colombia sends more soldiers to the SOA than any other country in the world. Just last week two more human rights activists were assassinated in front of their families by Colombian paramilitaries. Stop the atrocities, bring justice to the Americas, shut down the SOA!"

    Sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine


    Released on Friday, June 10th


    Mike Ring, 65, Wall, NJ

    Mike is currently retried and working at an alternative high school. He and Mary, his wife of 41 years, have four children and three grandchildren. Before retiring, Mike spent 15 years working for IBM building cable TV systems. His daughter-in-law is from El Salvador. His strong faith and family connection have brought him to do what he can to close the SOA/WHINSEC.

    Sentenced to 12 months probation and a $1,000 fine


    Dan Schwankl, 31, Siler City, NC

    Dan is a Catholic Worker and former high school English teacher. After graduating from college, Dan spent two years in Belize through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. While he was there he taught English and literature to his students. Dan is currently working on an organic farm and running in marathons when he has the time.

    Click here to read an article about Dan in The Independent.
    Sentenced to 90 days in federal prison and a $500 fine

    Released on Friday, June 10th



    Aaron Shuman, 32, Oakland, CA

    Aaron was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, and now resides in Oakland, California. His politics were shaped in college in Los Angeles, during the first U.S./Iraq War and the uprising following the acquittal of the police who beat Rodney King. A 32 year-old activist with Prison Activist Resource Center, Education Not Incarceration and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop, he believes in building opposition to the U.S. war machine waging genocidal wars abroad and at home.

    His work on the upcoming conference, From Attica to Abu Ghraib: Human Rights, Torture, and Resistance seeks to connect the growing outcry against U.S. torture abroad with the demand for human rights for prisoners and detainees in the U.S. Aaron seeks to connect communities across borders targeted by the U.S. drug war. Honored to have ridden on the bus caravan to Fort Benning this year with Salvadoran torture survivor Carlos Mauricio, Aaron is happy to take action against the SOA/WHINSEC.

    Read an editorial by Aaron Shuman in Inside Bay Area
    Sentenced to four months in federal prison and a $500 dollar fine

    Released on Tuesday, July 12th



  • Alex McCann and one other minor were sentenced to community service.


  • Mary Vaughn continues to serve 24 months of probation. Mary was sentenced in January of 2004 for her act of civil disobedience in November of 2003.


 

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