Statue of Liberty Climber Found Guilty, Says She Had Nightmares About Kids in Cages

Theresa Okoumou got choked up as she testified Monday before a New York federal magistrate judge

What to Know

  • Therese "Patricia" Okoumou climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4 to protest the border separation of children from parents
  • At her trial Monday, she got choked up as she testified, saying the images gave her nightmares
  • Okoumou was convicted of misdemeanor charges. The charges include trespassing and carry a potential penalty of up to 18 months in prison

A woman who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on July 4 to protest the separation of families at the Mexican border has been convicted of misdemeanor charges.

Therese Okoumou got choked up as she testified Monday before a federal magistrate judge at her trial. She said images from the border gave her nightmares. Judge Gabriel Gorenstein announced the verdict a short time later.

The prosecutor says Okoumou endangered herself, rescuers and thousands of Liberty Island visitors when she climbed to the feet of the statue. Authorities evacuated the island.

Okoumou testified that she couldn't live with the sight of "children in cages" without bringing the issue to a wider audience.

The charges include trespassing and carry a potential penalty of up to 18 months in prison.

In a statement on Monday, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman maintained that the "act of climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty went well beyond peacable protest, a right we certainly respect." 

"It was a crime that put people at grave risk," he said. "We commend Judge Gorenstein's decision to hold... Okoumou accountable for her dangerous and reckless conduct."

Okoumou's pre-sentencing date has been set for March 5. She will be free without bail until then. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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