O'Conner Nearly Nabbed After He Leaves M.I.T.
Michael O'Conner, AWOL from the army, was nearly arrested yesterday when he left his sanctuary at M.I.T. to stay at the home of an M.I.T. physician in Arlington.
O'Conner, exhausted from fourteen days and nights at the M.I.T. Student Center, left his sanctuary there to recuperate at the home of a sympathetic doctor, according to Jeffrey C. Satinov an M.I.T. resistance leader. The doctor telephoned federal authorities from his home to find out how long O'Conner could stay there. The authorities told the physician that they were coming to arrest O'Conner. After the threat, O'Conner called his lawyer, Edward Sherman, a fourth year law student and teaching fellow at Harvard, Satinov said. Sherman advised him to return immediately to M.I.T. O'Conner returned to his sanctuary and the doctor called the authorities back to tell them O'Conner had left.
O'Conner's departure from M.I.T. was first revealed yesterday morning in a press release issued by the M.I.T. Resistance. The Resistance has set up a communications headquarters at the Social Service Committee Office on the fourth floor of the M.I.T. Student Center to make O'Conner's whereabouts known to federal, military, and local authorities on request so that officials cannot legally charge him with desertion from the army. O'Conner's lawyers had advised him that the doctor could not be prosecuted for harboring an AWOL soldier if he was giving him medical attention.
Members of the M.I.T. Resistance decided Thursday to end the physical protection of O'Conner on the grounds that the sanctuary had fulfilled its aims in preventing his arrest for such a long period of time.
O'Conner has since been meeting with M.I.T. classes, participating in discussion groups and occasionally giving lectures.
There was a question earlier as to whether or not O'Conner could attend and perhaps lecture to regular classes at M.I.T. Jerome Wiesner, provost of M.I.T., said Wednesday that the AWOL soldier has "no official status at M.I.T.. He is not a lecturer and not a student. A professor who chooses to invite him to his classes does so on his own judgment."
O'Conner said that if he were arrested, he would receive 16 months in jail and a dishonorable discharge from the army. "You think I care?" he said. "This is a dishonorable country."