A 77-year-old nun back home after six months in federal prison

Monday, February 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) _ Federal prisoner No. 90294020 _ Sister Miriam Spencer _ is back home after six months in prison.

The 76-year-old Roman Catholic nun was convicted of trespassing during a protest two years ago at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Ga.

``The worst thing was being treated like dirt by some of the guards,'' Spencer said Friday at the retirement home here for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.

Spencer was released Thursday from the women's federal minimum-security camp at Pekin, Ill.

``Of course, I'm not going to stop protesting,'' Spencer said. ``They haven't closed the school yet.'' Spencer added she may not trespass if she ever goes back.

Activists contend the school trains South American military leaders in torture and insurrection. The U.S. government says those attending the school are trained in democratic principles.

Four of the 26 protesters convicted in the 2000 protest were elderly nuns. And Spencer's conviction only expanded her list of causes, which now includes concerns about the injustices of mandatory minimum sentencing.

``I promised the women before I left there that I would try to do something about it,'' she said.