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Five Youths Sentenced in San Francisco to Jail for Anti-semitism

Five young men were sent today to jail for anti-Semitic terrorism by Superior Court Judge Harry Neubarth. He imposed terms ranging from one to five months on the youths for the year-long harassment of a local Jewish resident and his wife, William and Elizabeth Bowman. The other defendants escaped Jail terms but were fined $500 each and were placed or probation, while an eighth youth, absent from court today, will be sentenced to six months, the judge announced.

Judge Neubarth said he spent a sleepless night considering his decision, pointing out that organized anti-Semitic terrorism was something new in the history of San Francisco. He noted that several other anti-Jewish manifestations had emerged here since the Bowman case and added that “this case seems to have started something that did not exist before, and it should be stopped.”

Two of the youths who were given jail terms, Steve Van Otten, 22, and his brother Barry, 19, are the sons of a police officer, A condition of restitution for all the defendants, was the requirement that they reimburse the Bowman family for an estimated $2, 000 in damages suffered by them during the period of anti-Semitic attacks.

Over a period of a year, the eight defendants together with four other youths, several of them from prosperous families, harassed the Bowmans by telephoning insults and obscenities after midnight, set fire to their car, slashed tires, smashed windows in their home and otherwise tormented the couple. Two of the four youths who were not tried today had pleaded innocent and will be tried next month. The remaining two, one of them the son of the chief of the Fire Department Arson Squad, had been placed on probation by Juvenile authorities.

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