An Indiana woman who climbed up Mount Rushmore on Sunday pleaded guilty Monday in a federal court in Rapid City.
In exchange for the plea by 20-year old Molly Venderley of Bloomington to violating the ban on climbing the rock carving, prosecutors dropped 2 other misdemeanor counts. She was also fined $1,250.
Venderley told a Mount Rushmore ranger she climbed in the dark because she knew it was illegal and knew that the park was closed.
The ranger saw her flashlight on a security feed and discovered she’d climbed as high as the base of George Washington’s lapel. Washington is the only one of the 4 carvings that extends to the torso.
Law enforcement reports described Venderley as “sober, cooperative and uninjured”, but a ranger found a bottle of champagne and a fake ID after searching Venderley’s vehicle in the parking lot.
Multiple signs at Mount Rushmore warn visitors that it’s illegal to climb the talus slope — the pile of broken rocks at the base of the monument — as well as the sculpture itself but some still do.
A Michigan man was fined $1,500 last fall after having been found on top of Washington’s head.