Man pleads guilty to damaging 'Field of Dreams' site

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DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - A man has entered a guilty plea after being charged with 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief.

20-year-old Austin Pape entered his plea on September 17 after allegedly damaging the "Field of Dreams" site on January 22.

Pape originally pleaded not guilty to charges that he drove on the field made famous by the 1989 "Field of Dreams" movie.

The field near Dyersville has had thousands of visitors over the years.

After the damage gained attention across the nation, over $15,000 was raised to help fund repairs to the field.

Following Pape entering his guilty plea, Denise Stillman, the Chief Preservationist for the Field of Dreams Movie Site sent the Dubuque County Attorney's Office the following statement:

"Thank you for the opportunity to share with the court the impact Mr. Pape's actions had on the Field of Dreams Movie Site team. From the end of January through mid-February, the majority of our winter team had to be taken away from their regular duties to answer phone calls, emails, postal mail, social media inquiries and traditional media inquiries, as well as vendors seeking to sell their services to assist with the repairs. We lost a good amount of productivity normally used during that time of the year to prepare for the events, gift shop opening and the season ahead that begins each April.

We do recognize the value of the attention we received and the outpouring of support from people around the globe who love the Field of Dreams Movie Site. However, the distraction of dozens of phone calls, emails and meetings to coordinate the cleanup and repair day with dozens of volunteers and equipment and materials from the Tri-State area took up another week in total of work days spent as Mother Nature let winter linger longer than normal and we finally had to accomplish the task on a snowy April 16. In addition, the visitors who drove through in the off-season before the repairs were complete unfortunately saw the Field in disrepair.

The staff member who this act impacted the most--who endured the most stress emotionally and physically --is our groundskeeper who spent many hours in the cold working to assess the damage, to repair what he could on his own and meeting with service providers who could help us repair the irrigation system, the infield and the outfield to bring the Field back to its beautiful state.

We are grateful for Mr. Pape for coming forward and thank the court for allowing us to provide this statement."

Pape's sentencing is scheduled for November 13 at 1 p.m.