Reading, N.Y. — Thirteen protesters arrested for protesting a proposed gas storage facility near Seneca Lake were arraigned in Reading Town Court Wednesday night.
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The protesters have been charged with trespassing for protesting at the Crestwood facility in Schuyler County. Ongoing acts of civil disobedience have led to over 130 arrests at the facility since October.
Three of Wednesday night’s defendants were from Tompkins County — Deborah Cipolla-Dennis of Freeville, Peter Tringali of Ithaca, and Rosalie Richler-Goldberg of Ithaca.
One defendant of 13 entered a guilty plea. Eight pleaded not guilty to his or her charges. Many refused to enter a guilty or not guilty plea and said that Judge Raymond Berry should recuse himself from the case.
Faith Meckley, 19, an IC student and the youngest of the defendants, pleaded guilty to trespassing. Meckley said that she would refuse to pay any fine imposed by the Court.
“I will not pay money to a [justice] system that I believe is broken,” she said.
Judge Berry adjourned her sentencing (Meckley objected to the postponement) and stated he wanted to think about her statement before imposing a sentence.
Before the 7 p.m. arraignment, court officials had made a statement that only the defendants would be let into the courtroom, and that the media would not be permitted in, based on the size of the courtroom and the number of people present. After negotiations with Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a leader in the protests, court officials changed their stance on opening the courtroom.