CORNING, N.Y. (WENY) – The hate crime charges against a Corning woman who reportedly confronted an Amish man selling puppies in Corning's Gaffer District have been dismissed.
According to Christie Speciale's attorney, Susan Chana Lask, Corning City Judge Matthew McCarthy signed an order dismissing all misdemeanor charges against Speciale, including the hate crime charges.
“My client was simply protesting animal abuse which does not constitute a Hate Crime. Although justice has been served, Ms. Speciale suffered immensely from DA Baker’s false charges, and I will continue vindicating her in a civil rights suit,” says Lask.
The $5 million civil rights suit is against Corning City Police, the City of Corning, Steuben County and Steuben County DA Baker.
The only charge remaining is reportedly the initial disorderly conduct violation. Lask says Speciale will take the violation to trial as “her position is that the violation cannot be proven”.
On September 22, Speciale was arrested after she confronted an Amish man on Market Street who was selling puppies. Speciale claimed the puppies were from a puppy mill and were subjected to inhumane treatment.
Following her arrest, Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker announced he would pursue hate crimes because he said Speciale was targeting the man for his religion.
In his decision, Judge McCarthy said, “There are no facts alleged to support a finding that the defendant struck, shoved, kicked or otherwise subjected another person to physical contact”.