Statue of Liberty climber Therese Okoumou gets probation

by Kim Boateng Posted on March 20th, 2019

New York City: A Manhattan judge on Tuesday sentenced Therese Patricia Okoumou, a New York woman to probation and community service for climbing the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal in July to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The judge sentenced Therese Patricia Okoumou, 45, to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service for the protest on the Fourth of July.

She appeared in court with clear tape wrapped around her face, a metaphor, her friend told the New York Daily News, for the suppression of free speech. Okoumou also wore a headband with the words “I care” written across it.

Manhattan Federal Court Magistrate Gabriel Gorenstein told Okoumou to take off the tape to proceed with the hearing.

He found her guilty in December of three misdemeanor counts, including trespassing, interference with government agency functions and disorderly conduct. She faced up to 1 1/2 years in jail.

During her Lady Liberty climb, she forced the evacuation of the tourist attraction on one of its busiest days of the year.

“She did not climb the Statue of Liberty to rescue a child who was in danger,” Gorenstein said Tuesday. “The law that prevents people from climbing the Statue of Liberty is not unjust.

“The defendant apparently thinks because her cause is important, it doesn’t matter the danger she causes others.”

Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, Okoumou’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, said he wouldn’t rule out similar stunts in the future.

“I’m happy I’m not in prison or I’m in jail,” Okoumou said. I “refuse to go to prison because I’m not a criminal.”

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