Statue of Liberty Climber Gets Her Freedom Curbed
A Manhattan judge Friday ordered home detention for the Statue of Liberty-scaling activist until her sentencing in two weeks, saying she may have “a climbing problem.”
The mandate was issued during a bail-revocation hearing for Therese “Patricia” Okoumou — who on July Fourth climbed the landmark statue, forcing throngs of tourists to evacuate — after she pulled a similar stunt in Texas last week.
Magistrate Federal Judge Gabriel Gorenstein ordered Okoumou to be fitted with an electronic-monitoring bracelet and to remain at home unless she gets permission to leave for religious, medical or legal purposes or to look for work.
Before the decision came down, Okoumou’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, argued that she doesn’t pose a danger to the community.
“Ms. Okoumou does not have a drug problem. She does have a serious problem with injustice,” Kuby said.
Gorenstein shot back, “From my legal perspective, she may have a climbing problem.”
Gorenstein said he is worried about the fact that Okoumou uses crowdfunding for her legal bills and income.
“What concerns me is that she needs publicity to get those donations, and her method to get publicity is to break the law,” Gorenstein said adding he hoped home detention and GPS tracking would keep her in line.
Last week, the 44-year-old woman was arrested in Austin for climbing atop the four-story Southwest Key Detention Center — which houses undocumented immigrant children — hanging a banner that said “Abolish ICE” and then refusing to come down for hours.
When asked if she will promise to not break the law again she responded, “No comment.”