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Sex in the City: Batavia 'adultery' case getting wider media attention

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Batavia police spokesman Eric Hill pretty much admits that the police department is surprised that an alleged sex act in a Batavia park has become big regional news.

The initial press release was "local only," meaning it went out only to The Batavian, WBTA and the Batavia Daily News. Regional TV, radio and newspaper editors read all of those websites to help keep tabs on Batavia, so by Monday afternoon, the police department was besieged by a steady stream of media requests for more information.

At 3:45 p.m., Hill stood before half-a-dozen TV cameras and a barrage of mics and told the assembled reporters many things we already know, and added a couple of new details.

pressconf02.jpgThe angle driving the story up until now is the rare charge of adultery against Suzanne M. Corona, 41, of Ousterhout Street, and that unusual charge could lead to national news outlets picking up  "BATAVIA , NY" datelined news stories.

If not "adultery," then Corona's comments late this afternoon to WHEC out of Rochester will certainly add a more sensationalistic angle.

Corona said that her husband of seven years is transgendered and that they have been unable to have sex. That is part of the explanation of what she calls “inappropriate behavior.”

Corona told News 10NBC, “One thing lead to another and this is what ended up happening…I feel terrible, especially for my family. It’s an embarrassment for my family. It just happened. There was no reason for it...it just occurred and obviously I wish it never happened. It wasn’t planned. I am very sorry for the situation.”

suzanne_corona.jpgCorona also denied police allegations that she was actively engaged in sexual intercourse with 29-year-old Justin Amend on a picnic table in Farrall Park when Officer Matthew Baldwin arrived on scene at 5:15 p.m., Friday.

In an attempt to confirm Corona's statements with her, I drove over to her house after reading the WHEC story. She was not at home, but her unshaven and slightly disheveled husband was.

The 42-year-old Mr. Corona said he's been reading The Batavian. He said he wondered why nobody was considering him in this situation. I said that normally we don't try to talk directly with people involved in pending legal cases.

I asked him if he had seen the comments that his wife made. He said yes. I said, "You've seen her latest comments to News 10?" He said, "yes." I asked, "any reaction?" he said, "in what way?"

adultstory01.jpgI asked him what he thought about her saying he was transgendered, and he said, "Do I look transgendered to you?" I said, "no," and he said, "well, there you go, then."

At this point, another reporter walked up. I reached for my tape recorder and asked to record our conversation. He said, "no."  I then asked him, "but you do categorically deny what she said about you being transgendered." He said, "I don't understand your question." I said I just wanted to be clear that I understood exactly what he said. He told me I heard what he said.

He then told me that he's been reading what I've written about the case and considered me unfair and very narrow minded. He then backed into his doorway and shut the door.

justin_amend.jpgAs for Friday's incident, Officer Hill said that when Officer Baldwin approached the allegedly copulating couple, Amend had his pants down, but that Corona was mostly clothed.

"He asked what they were doing and they said, 'Just talkin'," Hill said. "Obviously, they weren't just talking."

Hill later said that upon more questioning, Corona said that they were just making out.

He described both as intoxicated at the time.

Officer Baldwin knew Corona was married, Hill said, because police have previously responded to calls at her residence.

Baldwin decided to charge Corona with adultery because the alleged facts as he knew them fit the penal code.

Section 255.17 of the New York State Penal Code reads:

A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. Adultery is a class B misdemeanor.

A reporter also asked if Corona was married to, or formerly married to, any member of the Batavia Police Department. Hill said she has no direct relation to anybody in the police department.

UPDATE 11:05 p.m.: WHEC has deleted from its story online the transgender reference. I just spoke to a person on the news desk at WHEC who said, "I guess they felt it wasn't really relevant to the story."  On further discussion he said, "she made all kinds of excuses" and added again that this excuse just didn't seem relevant or fair to the husband since they couldn't check it out.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.From WHAM 13's Sean Carroll:

The woman involved is charged with adultery in part because of statements she made to police.  According to court papers she told an officer after her arrest:

"Officer I know what I did was inappropriate and I apologize but you'd understand if you knew what my life was like.  I have a transgender husband and we never have sex.  One thing led to another."

Carroll also reports that he spoke with Corona, and she didn't deny engaging in sex, "However, she said police are painting a picture that isn't accurate.  She insists nobody was nearby and if they were that they would not have seen anything inappropriate."

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Photos: Top photo, the view from the podium just prior to today's press conference at police HQ; first inset, Corona; second inset, plaque at Farrall Park; third inset, Amend; bottom photo, the picnic table area at Farrall Park.

Jeremiah Pedro
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The comments by Corona are awesome. You're already in a hole but then you keep on digging.
Gabor Deutsch
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WOWSERS. I guess I have closure but I feel really bad for anyone involved.
Frank Bartholomew
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If you think this story is getting a lot of press, wait until tommorow down at the courts facility, this is gonna be a circus for sightseers. By the way, who coined the wowsers phrase?
Janice Stenman
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Help me out here. I read the penal code several times and it seems to me that BOTH of them should have been charged, not just Mrs. Corona. I think the adultry charge is ridiculous. It should be stricken from the books along with spitting on the sidewalks and motor cars scaring horses. These people are already in enough trouble for public intoxication and lewd conduct.
George Richardson
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In just a few hours I have gone from having fun with a cheap laugh to feeling cheap for laughing. This is a very sad situation for all involved and I hope it goes away soon. I know I wouldn't want something like this to visit my life. Peace all.
Autumn Connolly
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Why should they throw adultery away? You sign a legal agreement committing yourself to that one person in the eyes of the law.Maybe people would try harder in their marriages if they knew they could get charged for cheating. I bet it is the number one reason for peoples' divorces today. If your dumb enough to get caught your dumb enough to get charged or get out of the relationship before he have public sex.
Janice Stenman
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Now days, people often write their own wedding vows. They can commit to anything they want. There is nothing in the marriage paperwork that says anything about adultry. I am not a fan of adultry, but I am also not a fan for people being prosecuted for it. Also, why wasn't the man charged?
Jeremiah Pedro
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@ Janice If I remember correctly, Howard had reported in the original story that the man was unaware that the woman was married. The police gave that as the reason for the woman but not the man being charged. Kinda makes you think about that whole ignorance of the law is no excuse thing right?? Or even the famous last words of pedophiles, "but officer, I didn't know she wasn't 18". Anyhow, I have to agree with Autumn about not striking the adultery code. Marriage is suppose to be something special. And when one of the parties involved does something low down and crappy like cheat on their partner then they should have to face consequences for their actions. It's a misdemeanor charge, not like it's a felony.
Bea McManis
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Take a look at traditional, or even modern, wedding vows. The words "lawful wedded" are usually in there. The definitive word is "lawful". It isn't, "until someone else comes along". Even if vows are written, how many exclude the words "lawful" or "faithful"? When the ceremony is complete, the couple is married in the eyes of the state. They have entered into a legal contract. Mrs. Corona, regardless of the circumstances of her current marriage, is still bound to that contract until she or her husband chose to disolve it. No matter how you cut it she broke that contract, ergo she broke the law. Even if she were not bound to that contract, public lewdness is still a crime. Should we strike that one from the books too? It was an irresponsible act performed under the influence of alcohol. Isn't there a law about public drunkardness? Maybe that should be struck from the books as well. So, when we strike all of the laws surrounding this episode, we would be in a community that acknowledges that the marriage contract is not worth the paper it is written on; that public drunkardness and lewdness are acceptable behaviors. Perhaps, as someone wrote earlier, it is a wake up call that when one spouse or the other choses to set aside those vows and look to greener pastures, that they might find themselves arrested by the injured party. Sobering thought, isn't it?
Jeff Allen
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I totally agree with Autumn and Bea. What we need is more arrests for adultery. The fear of prosecution might curb what is a real epidemic in the erosion of the family. Everyone snickers or winks at adultery without considering the trail of emotional strife it leaves behind. Adultery is not a victimless crime. Ask the children of parents who engaged in adulterous affairs. Not really that funny anymore. Marriage is a legally binding contract before the state and is such for a reason. Let's bring prosecution of adultery back into the mainstream, it is a crime no matter how you try and justify it.
Gary Spencer
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"A reporter also asked if Corona was married to, or formerly married to, any member of the Batavia Police Department. Hill said she has no direct relation to anybody in the police department." Gotta say....I was wondering if she (or actually, her husband) was related to a local police officer...."no direct relation to", could be an indirect relation to?? I am just saying.... But now lets move on to the next story and we can all talk trash about somebody else.... Howard, great job with this story, as always!!!
Dave Olsen
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"It seems like a hard crime to prosecute" only if they can make the charges stick..............
Dave Olsen
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Hey, is Mr. Amend making a kissy face in his mug shot?
Jeremiah Pedro
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Naw Dave he's just giving us the "duck lips." it would be a pretty hard crime to prove. However, not that hard a crime to prosecute. Once their was evidence to prove that the crime took place it is just like any other crime on the books. The most likely scenario would be one spouse walks in on the other bumping fuzzies with their paramour and instead of resorting to violence calls the police instead. Or one spouse either hires a private detective or does the private eye thing themselves. And using the evidence of an adulterous affair calls the police and presses charges. I can remember during my time spent at Camp Pendleton, Ca a few individuals that found themselves at the mercy of a military court because the spouse who's pee-pee that had been sticking their pee-pee in got a sudden attack of conscience and reported the adulterous deeds to the command of the military member.
Mike Weaver
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I make my living off the evening news Just give me something - something I can use People love it when you lose They love dirty laundry............... Sorry Howard. I know this song is a dig at the news media but it so sems to fit the circus that is coming to town here.
Jim Burns
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now THIS is the type of story I expecting when I moved to a small town. It reads like a script from "My Name is Earl" Too bad the story is so bad for my real estate values.
william tapp
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§ 255.17 Adultery. A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. Adultery is a class B misdemeanor. i think he should be charged to.
Jim Burns
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Hmmm you appear to be correct, he should have been charged too.
Bea McManis
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Just out of curiosity, I checked punishments for adultry. Criminal penalties Asia In some East Asian countries, including Korea, and Taiwan, adultery continues to be a crime. In the Philippines, adultery (defined as consensual sexual intercourse between a married woman and a man who is not her husband) and a related act of concubinage (a man cohabiting with a woman who is not his wife), are considered crimes under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. Adultery is not a crime in China, but constitutes grounds for divorce. In Pakistan, adultery is a crime under the Hudood Ordinance. The Ordinance sets a maximum penalty of death, although only imprisonment and corporal punishment have ever actually been imposed.[citation needed] The Ordinance has been particularly controversial because it requires a woman making an accusation of rape to provide extremely strong evidence to avoid being charged with adultery herself. A conviction of a man for rape is only possible with evidence from no less than four witnesses. In recent years high-profile rape cases in Pakistan have given the Ordinance more exposure than similar laws in other countries. Similar laws exist in some other Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia. In Indian law, adultery is defined as sex between a man and a woman without the consent of the woman's husband. The man is prosecutable and can be sentenced for up to five years (even if he himself was unmarried) whereas the married woman can not be jailed. Men have called the law gender discrimination in that women cannot be prosecuted for adultery and the National Commission of Women has criticized the British era law of being anti-feminist as it treats women as the property of their husbands and has consequentially recommended deletion of the law or reducing it to a civil offense. The Government is yet to act. Extramarital sex without the consent of one's partner can be a valid grounds for monetary penalty on government employees, as ruled by the Central Administrative Tribunal. In Southwest Asia, adultery has attracted severe sanctions, including death penalty. In some places, such as Iran[46] and Saudi Arabia, the method of punishment for adultery is stoning to death. It has been suggested that Iranian officials are avoiding imposing the penalty because of social objections. Proving adultery under Muslim law can be a very difficult task as it requires the accuser to produce four eye witnesses to the act of sexual intercourse, each of whom should have a good reputation for truthfulness and honesty. The criminal standards do not apply in the application of social and family consequences of adultery, where the standards of proof are not as exacting.[citation needed] Europe Most European countries have decriminalized adultery. Adultery is not a crime in most countries of the European Union, including Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland or Sweden. In some Southern-European countries, adultery can lead to the so called vendetta, which is illegal (with penalties up to life sentence), but rarely prosecuted. North America In the United States, laws vary from state to state. In those states where adultery is still on the statute book (although rarely prosecuted), penalties vary from life sentence (Michigan), to a fine of $10 (Maryland), to a Class I felony (Wisconsin)In the U.S. Military, adultery is a potential court-martial offense. The enforceability of adultery laws in the United States is unclear following Supreme Court decisions since 1965 relating to privacy and sexual intimacy of consenting adults. However, occasional prosecutions do occur http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery
Justin Burger
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If marriage is a legal contract, and adultery is breaking that contract, wouldn't it be a civil matter? Seems it would be a reason to sue, not arrest. I'm not defending adultery, I think it is a complete scumbag move to commit it. But like was said before, not everyone says they will be "faithful" in their vows. Not everyone has a traditional wedding. What about people who agree to "open" marriages, how can you arrest one for adultery in that case? It comes down to regulating morality, and that's dirty pool.
Jason Murray
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this is one of the few times where ignorance is in his favor. he was not charged because he didn't know she was married. hes not even from this area he was up from Florida visiting his mother so it can be reasonable assumed he didn't know about her husband. she on the other hand is charged because the officer knew she was married regardless of the sex at home or lack there of. that why marriage is not a permanent legal binding contract. if your not happy get a divorce. Alcohol = 12.99 park picnic table = free Becoming the talk of western ny for having sex in a park = PRICELESS there's some things money cant buy but for everything else there's batavia
Gabor Deutsch
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George A Farrall : http://www.onlinebiographies.info/ny/genesee/farrall-ga.htm
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Posted by Jason Murray on June 8, 2010 - 11:53am Alcohol = 12.99 park picnic table = free Becoming the talk of western ny for having sex in a park = PRICELESS there's some things money cant buy but for everything else there's batavia That was funny. I did indeed LOL.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Gabor Deutsch on June 8, 2010 - 12:05pm George A Farrall : http://www.onlinebiographies.info/ny/genesee/farrall-ga.htm Interesting. I think his father in law was involved with Johnston Harvester too. Isn't there a Davis St. in Batavia?
Lucille Van Son
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Yes Bea, there is. It's on Walnut St, heading out of town it will be a bit before ARC on the same side
Laura Langmaid
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Davis Ave is off Franklin St...Lucille, you are thinking of Walnut Place off Walnut by ARC...But really.. isn't this mess something?I know none of the parties involved, but I feel bad for all their families... How embarrassing...
Karen Vasser
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Folks, the bottom line is I do not want my tax dollars spent on prosecuting someone for Adultery even though it is a dispictable act. With our liberal views on sex, if two concentual adults are having sex, then it is none of our business. Doing it in a public place is,so the lewd behavior should be prosecuted.
B Graz
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Too bad I missed this when it was "big news"!??? The cool thing is, now Batavia has 3 "in the City" events... Summer in the City, Christmas in the City, and Sex in the City. So now I don't feel as bad about loosing the Batavia Air Show.
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