Ancient Rock Charges: Felling Formation Is A Felony

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The two Boy Scout leaders who knocked over a historic boulder at Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park last year were formally charged on Friday, park department officials report.

45-year-old Glenn Taylor and 42-year-old David Hall toppled the protected formation in October during a trip they took with eight Boy Scouts. Although Taylor claimed that he did it because the mushroom shaped sandstone pillar was about to fall down and was thus dangerous, there is no definitive evidence supporting this claim.

Following the incident, both men have been ordered to appear in state court on March 18. The charges that are against Taylor and Hall are respectively one count of felony criminal mischief and one count of felony aiding and assisting in criminal mischief. They each could potentially be penalized with up to five years in prison, $5,000 in fines, and costs for damages incurred.

Emery County Attorney David Blackwell indicated that a defense claiming that the rock presented an imminent danger or that it was about to tip over "would need to have a lot of expert testimony, and it would probably go both ways."

Taylor and Hall alleged back in October that the intentions behind their actions were good inasmuch as they were attempting to prevent someone from getting hurt. They added, however, that they later wished they had simply brought it to the attention of a park ranger instead.

"We did something right the wrong way," Taylor told NBC news last year.

The formation in question had been balanced undisturbed since the Jurassic Era. Considering the Boy Scouts have a “Leave No Trace” policy for the outdoors and that the rock managed not to fall on anyone for 170 years before the ex-boyscouts overturned it, these two may have a little trouble convincing anyone of their claim in court.

Also unhelpful to their case could be the fact that the video shows two 40-something-year-old men comporting themselves a bit more like giddy teenage reprobates than benevolent boulder conquerors.

Image via Youtube

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