Prosecutors in Salt Lake City have filed charges against two Boy Scout leaders who toppled an ancient rock formation in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park in October 2013. The stone formation was reportedly 200 million years old.
Glenn Taylor, the man who physically toppled the rock, is charged with criminal mischief, and David Hall, who filmed the incident, is charged with aiding criminal mischief. The two men claim they knocked down the formation because it posed a safety hazard.
The men posted the video of the incident on YouTube and were arrested soon after. “Some little kid was about ready to walk down here and die,” says the cameraman, “Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way. So, it’s all about saving lives here at Goblin Valley.”
“I put my hand on a rock and it moved,” said Taylor in an interview with ABC, “While we were sitting right there we had a thought, ‘Man if this rock falls, it’ll kill them.’ I didn’t have to push hard.”
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Jeff Rasmussen of the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation says he is not aware of any rocks at Goblin Valley State Park falling on anyone in his 22-year career.
The Boy Scouts of America stripped Taylor and Hall’s scout leader positions with the organization after the incident, saying the men violated the organization’s “leave no trace” policy of respecting the environment.
Taylor regrets not having contacted someone from the park first, but told ABC that he would do it again, albeit with the park’s authorization and a park ranger accompanying him.
The men could face up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine if convicted. Emery County Attorney David Blackwell said he filed the charges but is trying to negotiate a plea deal. The men have been ordered to appear in court March 18.