Teen who sneaked to top of World Trade Center pleads guilty: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey teen, who sneaked into New York City's One World Trade Center and ascended to the top of the 104-story building to the antenna, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the incident, New York media reported. Justin Casquejo, 16, accepted a plea deal that will keep the misdemeanor BASE jumping charge from his record and grant him youthful offender status in exchange for 23 days of community service, NBC New York reported. BASE jumping refers to parachuting from a cliff or a tall structure, as opposed to jumping from an airplane. Though he did not parachute himself, Casquejo faced a charge in connection with the activity, according to NBC New York. Casquejo was carrying his camera when he crawled through a small hole in the construction fence encircling the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan early one March morning, officials said at the time. He then clambered up scaffolding to enter the building, took an elevator to the 88th floor and climbed the stairs to the tower's antenna, which rises 1,776 feet (541.33 meters) above the ground. Police with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the public agency that owns the building, arrested Casquejo inside the skyscraper about two hours after he first entered. Casquejo was originally charged with two counts of trespassing, the Manhattan district attorney's office said at the time. Just days after Casquejo was arrested in March, four men turned themselves in at a New York police station for organizing a parachute jump from the 104-story building. In May, the men pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment, burglary and unauthorized jumping from a structure. They face maximum sentences of between five and 15 years in prison. The Port Authority has spent millions of dollars on security measures for the skyscraper, which is due to open later this year and which replaces the World Trade Center's Twin Towers that were destroyed by al Qaeda hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. The agency said after Casquejo's arrest that it takes security breaches extremely seriously. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Sandra Maler)