April 17th, 2005
|gsyh||08:40 pm - CIRCUS CLOWN FOUND GUILTY|
By PAT MILTON, Associated Press Writer
Thursday August 23 7:28 PM ET
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) - A professional circus clown has been convicted of
sodomizing his teen-age assistant.
Christopher Bayer, 29, known as "Smiley the Clown," was found guilty Wednesday
on nine counts including sodomy, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a
child. He was acquitted on four other charges.
Bayer said he would appeal.
"I'm innocent," he said as he left Suffolk County Court. His attorney, William
Keahon, said he is confident the convictions will be reversed.
Bayer worked for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus based in DeLand, Fla. The
boy was 11 when he began working for Bayer in 1995.
The boy, now 17, testified that Bayer began fondling him during out-of-town
circus trips, and that the first sodomy happened in 1995.
The boy's father grew suspicious in 1999 and placed a surveillance camera in
the living room of the family's Long Island home, where Bayer would sometimes
stay when in the area.
The father caught a December 1999 incident on videotape and reported Bayer to
police. The tape was shown to the jury.
Keahon argued that his client had been given liquor and then set up before the
Bayer was freed on $25,000 bail. Prosecutors said Thursday that bail would likely
be revoked because a recent state statute does not allow bail before sentencing
for a person convicted of a felony involving a child victim.
Sentencing was set for Oct. 17.