Woman Charged With Adultery to Challenge New York Law

A Batavia, N.Y., woman is the suspect in the state's 13th adultery charge.

June 8, 2010, 1:17 PM

June 08, 2010— -- A married New York woman charged with adultery after allegedly caught in a playground tryst appeared in court today, holding hands with her husband.

Suzanne M. Corona of Batavia, N.Y., became only the 13th person in the history of New York to be charged with adultery when she was arrested last Friday along with Justin Amend.

Corona did not enter a plea in court today and told the judge she planned to challenge the constitutionality of the charge. She faces a fine of up to $500 or 90 days in jail if convicted of the charge.

She later told a news conference it was a private matter between her and her husband.

Celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Felder agreed, and said New York is one of the "rare states where it's a crime."

"I don't think they've had a conviction in probably 50 years," Felder said. "I sit across from the Palace Hotel and the criminals are hard at work."

According to state records, 12 people have been charged with adultery in the state, the first one in 1972, according to records from the state division of criminal justice. Five of those resulted in convictions.

Felder said the nature of the alleged act may have influenced the officer to charge Corona with adultery since the couple allegedly had sex in a public park.

"Having sex on the picnic table may have had something to do with it," he said.

The lawyer said adultery should not be a crime.

"You can't legislate the human heart. It's ridiculous. The side effect is it leads people to commit perjury in divorce cases. It should not be on the books," Felder said.

Corona, 41, was having sex with Amend, 29, on a picnic table in a park around 5 p.m. last Friday, according to court documents. The couple were allegedly spotted by a mother playing nearby with her children who called the police, Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told ABC News.

When Officer Matthew Baldwin arrived on the scene, "He asked them what they were doing, and they said, 'Just talking,' and obviously they weren't just talking," Officer Eric Hill, of the Batavia Police Department, told a press conference Friday.

Woman Charged with Adultery for only 13th Time in New York State History

"He witnessed them engaging in sexual intercourse, and he knew that she was married based on prior contact with her and her husband," Friedman said.

He charged Amend with public lewdness and Corona with public lewdness and adultery. Amend has not been charged with adultery according to police, because he allegedly did not know Corona was married.

Friedman said the fact that Baldwin allegedly witnessed the two having sex is "significant because you cannot prosecute someone for adultery based solely on the testimony of participants. Perhaps that's part of the rarity."

Police reports note that both Corona and Amend denied they were having sex, but according to court documents, Corona later admitted to police that they were.

ABC News affiliate WHAM has reported that Corona denied her alleged tryst with Amend was in plain sight or than any children were around.

Calls to the Corona residence have not been returned.

Section 255.17 of the New York State penal law states, "A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse." According to the law, an adultery conviction is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, or a $500 fine. Friedman said this is only the second adultery charge he has seen in his 28-years in office.

"We've had one prior adultery charge, 10 years ago, but it wasn't like this one," he said.

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