Teen Gets Community Service for WTC Climb

NEW YORK (AP) -

A thrill-seeking teenager who made a daring climb up the World Trade Center’s centerpiece tower was sentenced Wednesday to community service for a stunt that raised questions about how well one of the nation’s most security-conscious sites really was protected.

Justin Casquejo was sentenced to 23 days of service, a penalty set in a plea agreement this summer. He already completed the service — plus six extra days — and two sessions of youth counseling.

The 16-year-old admitted in July to breaking a city misdemeanor law against scaling tall buildings without permission.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Felicia Menin said Casquejo had submitted a 1,200-word essay explaining what he had learned from the episode.

“The court is impressed by your sincerity, remorsefulness and willingness to accept responsibility for your conduct,” Menin said.

Casquejo sneaked through a construction-fence gap, past a sleeping security guard and up a ladder, scaffolding, elevators and stairs to the top of the unfinished 1 World Trade Center skyscraper around 4 a.m. on March 16. After spending about two hours atop the symbolic 1,776-foot-tall tower — the nation’s tallest building — Casquejo encountered a security guard as he descended and was arrested.

Growing up in Weehawken, N.J., Casquejo developed a yen for scaling precarious structures and for parkour, an extreme sport that combines elements from martial arts, gymnastics and rock climbing, a friend said.

About a week after his trade center climb, three extreme-skydiving fans were arrested for a September leap off the tower.

The cases prompted security concerns and spurred changes at the trade center site.