The name of Robert DeWitt, former Pennslyvania bishop of the Episcopal Church was incorrectly spelled in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post.
The Puerto Rican terrorist organization FALN today claimed responsibility for the early morning bombings of the FBI's Manhattan headquarters building and a foreign currency printing plant in the Bronx.
Apart from raising to 49 the number of blasts attributed to the FALN since 1974, the explosions escalated tensions surrounding a current federal grand jury investigation into purported links between the militant Puerto Rican independence group and a controversial Hispanic social activist organization funded by the Episcopal Church.
A note found in a telephone booth near the FBI building demanded an end to the federal probe, which has led to the imprisonment on contempt charges of two women lay ministers of the church, who worked for the National Commission on Hispanic Affairs.
Maris Cueto, a 33-year-old Episcopal Church employee, and her secretary, Raisa Nemiken, 27, entered Manhattan's Federal Correctional Center here early this month rather than testify before a grand jury that has been investigating the series of bombings, including an explosion that ripped through the historic Fraunces Tavern on Jan. 24, 1975, killing four persons and injuring 55.
Federal investigators claim that the two women may have information about Carlos Albert Torres, a 24-year-old Chicagoan and former employee of the Episcopal Hispanic organization, whom police have named as the only known member of the FALN. Both women have denied having any knowledge of FALN's activities or knowing any of its members. But they refuse "on principle" to testify.
Torres, an unpaid employer of the Episcopal Hispanic group in 1976, has been sought as a fugitive since last Nov. 3 when authorities discovered what they termed a "bomb factory" in his Chicago apartment Police were also said to have found FALN documents to the apartment, along with evidence linking Torres to the church's Hispanic organization.
The FALN, whose initials translate from Spanish to the National Liberation Armed Forces, has been estimated by law enforcement officials to be as small as half a dozen members, although so little is known about the group, that the estimate could be wrong.
Most of the bombings have been accompanied by communiques demanding the release of imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalists, and demanding an end to "Yankee imperialism" in the Caribbean.
Today's explosions damaged a drug-store on the ground floor of the FBI's midtown office building but did not damage federal offices, which begin on the fifth floor. A passerby was cut on the arm by flying glass and treated on the arm by flying glass and treated in a hospital. The FALN letter said the American Bank Note Co., which prints foreign currency and stock certificates and also was damaged, is "one of the chief tools of capitalistic exploitation."
Federal authorities said evidence from today's blasts would be added to the mounting accumulation of data being considered by the U.S. grand jury.
Although it has yet to produce any arrests, the federal investigation has resulted in a deep schism within the Episcopal Church, whose executive council last year took the unusual step of calling for the release of five radical Puerto Rican "independistas" who have been imprisoned throughout the country since the 1954 shooting rampage in the House of Representatives.
Moreover, in its last general convention, the Episcopal house of Deputies supported a United Nations resolution demanding independence for Puerto Rico.
Cueto and Nemikin, supported by social activists in the church, allege that the New York grand jury probe and a similar proceeding in Chicago are designed to undermine the church's support to Puerto Rican ind dependence.
Last June, Lureida Torres, an editor of the Puerto Rican socialist newspaper, Claridad, was jailed on a contempt order for refusing to testify before a Chicago grand jury. She was released in October, when the jury's term expired.
Contempt proceedings also have been initiated in Chicago against two other Puerto Ricans, Myrna Saldago Lopez, 25, and her husband Jose, who are founders of an "alternative" school named after Rafael Cancel Miranda, one of the five serving a prison sentence in the House chamber schooling 23 years ago.
Carlos Torres is the son of one of the school's other founders, the Rev. Jose Torres, federal authorities say. Also, the Episcopal Hispanic commission once provided funds for the school, they said.
Bishop Paul Moore of the New York Diocese and Bishop Francisco Reus Proylan of Puerto Rico publicly supported the two New York women's efforts to quash the federal subpoena, and former Pennsylvania Bishop Robert DeWitte called it an "unfair and undemocratic procedure."
In an editorial in th forthcoming issue of the monthly magazine, The Witness, DeWitte characterized the contempt sentences, which could keep Cueto and Nemiken in prison until the grand jury term expires in May 1978, as a "weapon of harassment and oppression . . . a dangerous form of star chamber secret inquisition."
"Their refusal to testify was a matter of principle of grave concern to our church family . . . The essence of that concern is the gospel, which requires that we place ourselves clearly on the side of the poor, the oppressed. When the church does not take that stance, it is not the church," DeWitte said.
Women episcopal priests have taken up the cause of Cueto and Nemiken, planning a liturgy in New York on Holy Thursday (April 7), and a newly formed group called the Concerned Church Persons Against Grand Jury Abuse plans rallies at the National Council of Churches headquarters here.
However, the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church Center in New York, including Presiding Bishop John Allin, has adopted a hands-of stance in the case, cooperating with the grand jury and saying that the church will "let the wonen's consciences guide them" but that it will not support their refusal to testify.
In January, Allin voluntarily allowed the FBI into the Episcopal Center's office for a week to look at the Hispanic commission's files, church officials said. The concession came after the withdrawal of a subpoena, first served on Bishop Milton Wood, church executive of administration.