The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on November 9, 1989 · 170
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 170

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 9, 1989
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B2 THURSDAY. NOVEMBER 9, 1989 ,SD ' LOS ANGELES TIMES Congress Sets Aside $100,000 for Reward in Van Bombing Terrorism: Officials hope the action will lead to a revolving fund that will aid in any future incidents on U.S. soil. By RICHARD A. SERRANO IIMISSIMt ttkHIK Congress on Wednesday gave final approval to a $100,000 reward fund in the Sharon Rogers van bombing case, and officials are hopeful that the incentive could lead to a revolving reward fund to help capture foreign terrorists who might prey on victims in this country. The Rogers reward, which was attached to the annual appropriations bill for the Departments of Justice. State and Commerce, was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, a day after similar action in the House. Rep. Bill Lowery. a Republican from San Diego and a friend of Sharon Rogers and her husband. Navy CapL Will Rogers III. said he and officials from the FBI hope the reward money will go a long way toward bringing to justice those responsible for bombing the van driven by Sharon Rogers. He noted that approval of the fund follows FBI Director William S. Sessions expression this week of renewed confidence that an arrest will be made in the 8-month-oId case and said the FBI is still pursuing the case as an act of terrorism. "Greater public awareness could identify some very important witnesses and have some people come forward." Lowery said. "I am hopeful that will be the case. "With the statements made by Director Sessions. I think the bureau is relatively close to an arrest, and I hope the reward fund will provide some incentive for someone to come forward. "This could be the break they've been waiting for." ' The bill, when signed into law as expected by President Bush, would set aside $100,000 in Justice Department funds for information leading to an indictment in the Rogers case. On March 10. Sharon Rogers, then a La Jolla schoolteacher, was driving to work when her van exploded. She escaped unharmed. Authorities have believed that the bombing was done in retribution for her husband's mistaken order in July. 1988. aboard the guided missile cruiser Vincennes to shoot down a civilian Iranian jetliner. Will and Sharon Rogers said they hope the reward fund will speed the investigation. "We applaud the actions of the House and Senate to establish this federal reward." Will Rogers said. "It heightens our hope that someone will come forward with information so that this case can be solved. "Should it be solved, we think this will represent a milestone in demonstrating the resolve of the American people." It was reported last month that the FBI was concentrating on a former commercial pilot living in Georgia as a suspecL But recently, sources have indicated that it was appearing less likely that the pilot was behind the bombing. According to Lowery. the $100,000 would be paid only in the Rogers case. But he said that, if the case drags on with no arrests and a second incident of international terrorism occurs on U.S. soil, the money could be transferred to a reward fund in that case. "Ultimately, that decision would be made by the attorney general or the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." he said. "The congressional intent was that this be used in the Rogers case. But that is not binding legally." He added that should the Rogers reward prove successful. Congress might want to set up a permanent reward fund for victims of international terrorism on U.S. soil. "What we really need is an ongoing, revolving fund to help citizens and witnesses come forward," he said. "I would be supportive of that And. obviously, if this reward money helps crack this case. I think the bureau will probably request it in its "91 budget appropriation." The $100,000 federal reward is in addition to $40,200 already posted at the -local level in San Diego through the Crime Stoppers program. That money was raised through a $25,000 contribution from the San Diego law office of Norman Nous-kajian; $5,000 from the Navy League of the United States and other individual donations, ranging from $20 to $1200. said Joanne Davenport, a Crime Stoppers spokeswoman. Although she welcomed the added money, she cautioned that there has been no action on the local fund, one of the largest ever offered by her organization. 'There are just no leads." she said. "The reward is huge, and we have not got any calls on it." "But who knows? Maybe by going nationwide with this new federal money, we'll have more response." Roache Sues to Be Able to Run Against Duffy By RICHARD A. SERRANO TIMES STAFF WRITE Frustrated because he cannot "bad-mouth" San Diego County Sheriff John Duffy over issues concerning next year's sheriffs race, CapL Jim Roache on Wednesday asked a Superior Court judge to allow him to skirt a policy that prohibits staff members from running against the incumbent sheriff. Roache. one of four veteran law enforcement officials considering a run against longtime Sheriff Duffy, said in a lawsuit that he wants the policy voided soon in this case so he can file a formal notice of intent to seek the office and then begin raising campaign funds for the election in November, 1990. "In order to become a viable candidate, I need to begin to solicit and accept political contributions and begin to put together a campaign organization." Roache said. "For a race that involves a countywide election, that takes considerable time and effort And any time I'm delayed, it impairs my ability to become an effective candidate." Duffy, who has reportedly ignored two of Roache's letters asking for the policy to be set aside, did not return phone calls from The Times on Wednesday. Dan Wallace, chief deputy in the county counselor's office, said his office will represent Duffy when the case goes before a judge Monday. "We haven't developed our position as yet." Wallace said. "But we will be defending the sheriff in this lawsuit" Roache first asked Duffy in September to rescind the policy, and a second request followed in October, but said he never V- V Zrr "The fact that Mr. Duffy has already commenced fund raising verifies my concern that he recognizes that an election of this magnitude requires considerable time." JIM ROACHE Sheriffs Captain received a direct reply from Duffy. Instead, in a Nov. 3 letter from his immediate supervisor in the Sheriffs Department. Roache was told that he must work an eight-hour day, lake one hour for lunch and refrain from politicking or saying anything negative about the sheriffs operation. Roache also was reminded in the letter from sheriffs Cmdr. Myron A. Klippert "not to bad-mouth the sheriff or the Sheriffs Department" Roache said he believes that such admonitions violate his rights to free speech and to campaign for elective office. He said he is equally concerned that his superiors, working on Duffy's behalf, may be watching him closely, trying to catch him engaged in politics on county time. At the same time, Roache noted, the sheriff has frequently announced his own intention to seek reelection and has already begun fund raising, two steps that Roache has been prevented from taking. "The fact that Mr. Duffy has already commenced fund raising verifies my concern that he recognizes that an election of this magnitude requires considerable time," Roache said. 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