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Thursday, December 2, 2010
LINDA WIEGAND, PART VI: RAMBO SAID
One of Linda Wiegand's most avid supporters was Colonel Bo Gritz, a leader in the extreme right wing survivalist movement that supported Linda during much of her case and provided her with substantial financial resources. Colonel Gritz's close relationship with Linda Wiegand and the way he supported her cause and mentored her at Patriot Movement conferences assisted Linda greatly in furthering her cause and obtaining necessary funding for continuing her legal battle for custody of her two sons, Ben and Jon.
I may have gone over some old ground here, so forgive me if I repeat myself. But this is how it goes. In 1996, Tom Wilkinson offered a reward of $100,000 for anyone who could assist him in finding the whereabouts of Linda Wiegand and Ben and Jon. One of Linda's friends took up the offer and revealed her location in Las Vegas, Nevada and police came and took Ben and Jon from her custody and returned them to Connecticut. Linda Wiegand also returned to Connecticut in chains. After that, Tom Wilkinson obtained full custody of the two boys, moved them to Suffield, CT where he was living and put them in the local school system.
Then, in September 30, 1996, Colonel Bo Gritz was arrested for attempted kidnapping of the boys. Apparently, on that day both Colonel Bo Gritz (aka James G. Gritz) and his son, James R. Gritz were arrested while sitting in a car in the parking lot of the McAlister Middle School in Suffield. The car they were sitting in belonged to Linda Wiegand. In the car were: 1. photos of the boys; 2. a school floor plan; 3. class schedules for the boys; and 4. 2 ways radios. Apprently, a Mr. Sheldon Robinson of Texas was also charged with planning to use his own private plane to fly the kids out of state.
Later, on March 8, 2000, Colonel Gritz and his friend Shelden Robinson were acquitted of the all charges related to attempted kidnapping. The jury in the case deliberated for more than two days and then said the prosecution failed to do anything other than show that Bo Gritz was attempting to use his reputation to draw attention to the case.
After this episode, some members of the Patriot Movement that had supported Linda Wiegand up to that point, many of them associates of Colonel Gritz began to call Linda's credibility into question. Some said that they felt that Linda, as a way to get out of jail, had made a deal with authorities to set up Colonel Gritz as a way to destroy his reputation. Well, I guess anything is possible.
What I can say for sure is that around the year 2000, there is little more information available on the Linda Wiegand case and we are left with a mystery regarding what happened. Were the children subjected to continued abuse or not? Did Linda Wiegand ever see her children again? Was there any resolution to the case, any healing? We do know that Tom Wilkinson sued both the Connecticut DCF and the Vermont SRS for falsely accusing him of sexually abusing the boys. Those charges were negotiated shut and/or dismissed.
In December 2001 Governor Rowland ordered the establishment of a Commission on Custody, Divorce, and Children in Connecticut to make recommendations on how the state could improve the system. It was co-chaired by a well known father's rights advocate and abuser, Mr. Thomas C. Foley and among the 20 members assigned to the Commission was Dr. Kenneth Robson who had played such a central role in the Linda Wiegand case. It only produced a single report and was then disbanded.