Woman pleads not guilty in Colorado to art damage

FORT COLLINS — A Montana woman accused of taking a crowbar to controversial artwork for religious reasons pleaded not guilty today in Colorado.

Kathleen Folden, 56, a truck driver and grandmother from Kalispell, Mont., declined to comment during a court appearance, where she learned she would stand trial in January. She is charged with one count of criminal mischief, a felony which carries a penalty of between two and six years.

Folden was arrested Oct. 6 in the Loveland Museum/Gallery after witnesses said she used a crowbar to smash glass shielding a print by Stanford University professor Enrique Chagoya.

The print at issue, one of several copies of the work, includes figures cut out from a comic book, including a head resembling Christ and a skeleton with a pope’s hat.

Critics said the work depicted Jesus engaged in a sex act, but Chagoya said the work has been mischaracterized and doesn’t show Christ. He said the work is a collage, and the controversial panel was aimed at expressing “the corruption of the spiritual by the church.”

Folden was led out of the museum in handcuffs wearing a T-shirt with a Christian slogan, “My Savior Is Tougher Than Nails.” According to court documents, Folden told police she drove from Montana to Colorado specifically to destroy the artwork for “religious reasons.”

Her arrest came after protesters picketed the museum and failed to persuade city leaders to remove the print.



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