Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor protesters could face felony charges

The five anti-nuclear weapon protesters who broke into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in November were informed by letter Dec. 31 misdemeanor charges would be dismissed, and felony charges may be coming.

Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton; Bill Bischel, 81, of Tacoma; Anne Montgomery, 83, of New York; Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore; and Steve Kelly, 60, of Oakland, Calif. were originally cited for trespassing and destruction of government property. An initial hearing for these charges at U.S. District Court in Tacoma had been set for this Wednesday, but was canceled.

On Thursday, the group received a cover letter and order for dismissal from Barbara Sievers, assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington.

The charges were dismissed "without prejudice," meaning they can be refiled.

It stated that the U.S. Attorney's office is working with "law enforcement agencies to determine whether felony charges should be filed."

The letter was addressed to Judge Karen Strombom, in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Greenwald said the group doesn't know what to expect going forward.

"We are just wondering what is going on," she said. "The fact we were released on misdemeanor charges is puzzling."

The five protesters cut through the security fences the morning of Nov. 2, roaming the base for nearly five hours before being arrested by U.S. Marines. They are members of Disarm Now Plowshares, an international activist group which has staged more than 100 anti-nuclear weapon protests since 1980.

A new court date has not yet been set.

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