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Prison Escapee Lived 33 Years in Silence

December 19, 1992 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ A man who dodged authorities for 33 years after walking away from a prison farm says he never would have left if he had known that he would soon have been eligible for parole.

John Kalasansky, 67, was arrested Dec. 11 after city officials checking old records discovered that the retired man was also a convicted robber who fled from prison in 1959.

Kalasansky was known as John Kalasoski to friends and neighbors who considered him a model citizen. He said his past was something he hid from everybody he came in contact with - even his wife, whom he met 24 years ago.


″I’ve paid a terrible price. I just kept it to myself,″ he said in a telephone interview Friday from Marion Correctional Institution. ″I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble. I didn’t want to put anybody’s lives in jeopardy. I just suffered in silence.″

Because he feared incriminating others, Kalasansky said he hasn’t talked to his brother or sister in 33 years.

He spoke to his wife, Geraldine, on Friday for the first time since his arrest. They didn’t discuss his past.

″Remember, honey, I love you,″ she said, crying.

Kalasansky said he escaped from a prison farm in the northwest Ohio village of Green Springs because he didn’t know how much time he had to serve before being paroled.

″Back then, they didn’t tell you when you were getting out,″ he said. ″I wanted to see my family. Had I known that I had a little bit of time left before my parole hearing, I would have stayed. But it’s too late.″

Kalasansky had served five years of a 10- to 25-year sentence for aggravated robbery when he escaped in March 1959. His lawyer, Alan Kirshner, said he was to go before the parole board the following January.

But state prison spokeswoman Sharron Kornegay said prison officials had miscalculated, and Kalasansky actually would not have been eligible for parole until 1961.

Now he isn’t eligible until October 1994, Kornegay said. Kirshner plans to ask the governor’s office to reduce the sentence.

Kalasansky and a cousin were convicted of participating in a robbery at a Cleveland convenience store at which an employee was wounded.

″I was broke and didn’t have any money,″ he said.

After escaping, Kalasansky hitched a ride to Toledo, where he took the name John Kalasoski. He stayed at the Salvation Army for a few months, then got a job at a trucking company. He retired in the mid-1980s.

Kalasansky’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1949. He and his first wife had a son he says he hasn’t seen in more than 40 years.