Remember Suzanne Corona from Batavia? Batavia police certainly will. They found the 41-year-old married mother drunk and having sex in a public park with her young lover in June 2010. Local police officer, Matthew Baldwin, charged Corona and her lover Justin Amend with ‘public lewdness’, rejecting their protest that they were just talking.
Baldwin happened to know, though, that Corona was married and he consequently charged the wife and mother from western New York with adultery as well.
In August 2010 however, the adultery charge was dropped and Corona pleaded guilty to the less contentious charge of public lewdness.
Interestingly, Suzanne Corona had immediately announced she would challenge the adultery charge when it was first slapped on her. Her husband, Joseph, pledged to support her. (Takes all sorts.) Suzanne Corona argued that it was unconstitutional to charge a citizen with adultery. Her sex-in-the-park activity, she said, was nobody’s business but hers and her husband’s. (Well – and her lover’s. And the mothers of the young children who were in the park when the sex was being publically had. And the police officers who were sent along to interrupt the coitus.)
Adultery is rarely prosecuted in the US. The Genesee County District Attorney, Lawrence Friedman, said of the charge: “I’ve been in office for 28 years and I recall only one other time that we prosecuted somebody for adultery.”
Clearly, the attorney either decided that a legal challenge over adultery would fail or that the law against it is simply out of date.
Corona couldn’t get off the public lewdness charge though. Although she said when charged that she and Amend were just talking, the police said the pair were quite clearly “actively engaged in sexual intercourse.” Corona had also claimed rather brazenly: “If you were a passerby you would have not have even known anything was going on. Nothing inappropriate was observed.” Rather comically, she added of young Justin Amend, 29, “his genitals were exposed perhaps by the zipper – but that’s it.” (Oh well that’s all right then. Mind you, must get that revealing zipper seen to.)
Corona finally agreed to plead guilty to public lewdness as the adultery charge was dropped. Before the deal was made Corona had explained that she was drunk when she went into the park with Amend. She no longer had sex with her husband, she said, and so “one thing led to another. This is what ended up happening. I feel terrible, especially 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.”
For her act of lewdness without planning, Corona will be made to pay a fine and may be put on probation, but she’ll escape a jail sentence.
Her lover, a single man and therefore never charged with adultery, was also charged with public lewdness. He has also pleaded guilty but otherwise has more or less shut up about the case.
If the judge has any words of wisdom for the lovers they might be these:
“Stay away from each other or at least stay away from each other in the park.”