Woman who defiled national parks with graffiti banned from 524 million acres of public land
By Louis Sahagun
Jun 21, 2016 | 7:49 AM
A San Diego woman pleaded guilty last week to seven misdemeanor counts of defiling rock formations with graffiti in seven national parks and has been banned from 524 million acres of public lands during her two years of probation.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto also sentenced Casey Nocket, 23,to 200 hours of community work. A hearing to determine the amount of restitution Nocket is required to pay will be held at a later date.
Nocket declined to make a statement on her own behalf during a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Fresno, federal prosecutors said. She could not be reached for comment.
The defendant’s defacement of multiple rock formations showed a lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures.
— Phillip A. Talbert, U.S. attorney
“The defendant’s defacement of multiple rock formations showed a lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures,” said acting U.S. Atty. Phillip A. Talbert. “The National Park Service has worked hard to restore the rock formations to their natural state, completing clean-up efforts in five of the seven national parks.”
“They expect to complete clean-up efforts at Death Valley and at Crater Lake national parks as weather permits.”
Charles Cuvelier, chief of law enforcement for the National Park Service, said the case underlines the important role that the public can play in identifying and sharing evidence of illegal behavior in parks.”
“The resolution of this case sends a message to those who would consider such inappropriate behavior going forward,” he said.
Nocket painted colorful faces with acrylic paint and markers on rock formations with panoramic views in national parks during a 26-day period in 2014, authorities said.
Selfies of her graffiti, signed with the phrase "Creepytings 2014," were posted on California hiking websites Calipidder and Modern Hiker, and prompted an online petition urging the Obama administration to take action.
The damage occurred at the following locations: Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park; Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; Colorado National Monument in Colorado; Canyonlands National Park, Utah; Zion National Park, Utah; the beginning of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park, and Crater Lake National Park, Ore.
The best-known artist who has tagged in a national park is Andre Saraiva, an internationally known graffiti artist who owns nightclubs in Paris and New York, worked as a top editor of the men's fashion magazine L'Officiel Hommes and has appeared in countless glossy magazines as a tastemaker and bon vivant.
Nature lovers have lashed out at Saraiva on social media since his signature "OX" mark popped up on a large boulder at Joshua Tree.
He denied that the boulder was in the park. Answering critics, he posted on Instagram saying his work was "made with love at friends privet back yard and not your national park! [sic]."
Readers then used Google satellite maps, latitude and longitude coordinates and their own field notes to pinpoint the boulder's exact location -- inside the park.
His attorney demanded that Modern Hiker take down an article about him, saying it made Saraiva the target of "oppressive and unjustified messages that seriously harm his professional and private life."
Modern Hiker's lawyers replied that defacing a national park is prohibited under federal law and may be punishable by a fine and imprisonment. The article remained on the website.
On April 1, Saraiva paid a fine of $275 to the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, officials said. He could not be reached for comment.