- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - A daring teenager who sneaked to the top of the nation’s tallest building - 1 World Trade Center - will be assessed in a program for youthful offenders, a judge said Wednesday.

Dressed in a dark suit and red tie, Justin Casquejo appeared before Midtown Community Court Judge Felicia Mennin, who ordered the 16-year-old to return on April 30.

The slight, shy-looking youth stood quietly before the judge, saying nothing during the brief hearing. He and his lawyer declined comment as they rushed out of the building into a taxi.

Casquejo, of Weehawken, N.J., was originally charged with criminal trespass. But prosecutors added a BASE jumping charge - a reference to his alleged climbing in the unfinished building. Both are misdemeanors.

He was arrested last month after slipping through a hole in the fence surrounding the 104-story skyscraper at about 4 a.m. and taking an elevator to the spire.

According to court documents, the teen “slipped through an opening in the gate that is approximately 4 feet off the ground and approximately 1 square foot in area.”

He used a ladder to reach scaffolding that took him to the sixth floor, Detective Deborah Scheffold said in the documents. Casquejo then took the elevator to the 88th floor, climbed the stairs to the 104th floor and rooftop, and used a ladder again to reach the antenna.

Finally, on his way down about two hours later, he was stopped by a building security guard.

The intrepid climber said he had plotted on March 15, the eve of the climb, how to enter the building.

“I was walking around all night trying to figure out how I would enter it,” he was quoted as telling a police officer the next morning.

“I know there is no trespassing there,” the youth told the officer.

The 1,776-foot skyscraper is the nation’s tallest building. It was built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Authorities said Casquejo dressed like a construction worker and took photographs from the top.

On Wednesday, he was mobbed by the media as he arrived at the alternative-sentencing court, which emphasizes community service as a way for low-level offenders to pay back the neighborhood for quality-of-life offenses such as prostitution, shoplifting and trespassing.

Prosecutors have requested a so-called “youth assessment,” an in-depth evaluation of the defendant and his life circumstances.

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