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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Woman Who Unlawfully Climbed The Statue Of Liberty Arrested For Trespassing, Interference With Government Agency Functions, And Disorderly Conduct

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Major Pamela Smith, Commander, New York Field Office of the U.S. Park Police, and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the arrest of THERESE OKOUMOU on charges of trespassing, interference with government agency functions, and disorderly conduct.  The Information charges that OKOUMOU climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty and resisted orders to come down, causing the evacuation of Liberty Island on the Fourth of July and posing substantial danger to NYPD officers who were required to retrieve her.  OKOUMOU was arrested Wednesday, and will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged in the Information, the defendant staged a dangerous stunt that alarmed the public and endangered her own life and the lives of the NYPD officers who responded to the scene.  While we must and do respect the rights of the people to peaceable protest, that right does not extend to breaking the law in ways that put others at risk.  I commend the Park Police for the orderly evacuation of Liberty Island yesterday, and the NYPD for their bravery and effectiveness in bringing yesterday’s events to a safe conclusion.”

U.S. Park Police Major Pamela Smith said:  “This incident caused disruption to thousands of visitors on one of the busiest days of the year at the Statue of Liberty.  We are grateful that the matter was resolved with no one sustaining injuries or causing major damage to the monument.”

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OKOUMOU, 44, of Staten Island, New York, is charged with one count of trespassing, one count of interference with agency functions, and one count of disorderly conduct.  Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Brett M. Kalikow is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Information are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Press Release Number: 
18-225
Updated July 5, 2018