Retired Bishop George Packard and seven other defendants have been found guilty of trespassing for climbing a fence and entering an empty lot owned by Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street in December. Packard and six others defendants were sentenced to four days of community service and assessed fines. One defendant, Mark Adams, was sentenced to 45 days in jail. More details to come. You can follow developments on twitter at #D17.
Tweets from Shawn Carrie:
Bishop George Packard now speaking of the disappointment seeing his church @TrinityWallSt help put @emarkadams in jail for 45days
Bishop Packard says in his 70 years as a man of faith, he has never heard a church speak of “No Trespassing” and punishment.
Bishop Packard: “@TrinityWallSt has been portraying itself as this hurt corporate entity, meanwhile pulling the wool over St eyes.
Trinity Wall Street’s most recent statement on the trial, made on June 7, is here.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Sisk of the Episcopal Diocese of New York released statements in December, just before the events for which Bishop Packard and the others were arrested, supporting Trinity, Wall Street. We will pass on whatever statements they might make.
Update 1 from CNBC:
The one-week trial in Manhattan Criminal Court pitted the church, once a strong ally of the movement, against Occupy supporters, who pressured church leaders not to cooperate with the prosecution.
In the trial before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino, one defendant, Mark Adams, was also convicted of trying to slice through the fence’s locks with bolt-cutters. Sciarrino sentenced him to 45 days, more than the 30 days that prosecutors had been seeking; he did not offer an explanation. The other seven defendants received four days of community service.
“I’m not shocked, but I’m disappointed that the court felt private property interests trumped our clients’ good-faith defenses,” said Gideon Oliver Orion, one of four defense lawyers.
In finding the protesters guilty, Sciarrino said property rights are as important as freedom of speech. “This was a forceful taking, an invasion, an occupation, pure and simple,” he said.
The Episcopal News Service story is here. It notes that the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, was among the defendants.