MAN SENTENCED IN ABUSE OF APPRENTICE
Christopher Bayer, 29, was convicted of sodomizing a boy he helped train as a clown. Bayer, of 178 N. Queens Ave., works as a circus clown called Smiley. He was arrested after a man found him engaging in a sexual act with the man's son and called police. He was convicted of nine out of 13 counts after the jury deliberated for 6 1/2 hours. The crimes for which he was found guilty included multiple counts of sodomy, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He was acquitted of four counts stemming from one incident. The father testified that he videotaped Bayer sexually abusing his son for 45 minutes before confronting him. He said he set up a small surveillance camera on a mantel in his living room after overhearing a troubling conversation between Bayer and his son. Laura Ahearn, child advocate and executive director of Parents For Megan's Law, a community and victim's rights advocacy group in Stony Brook, said, If our society could see what we saw in the courtroom, sex offenders would never get out of jail. After his conviction, he was allowed to remain free on $25,000 bail by Acting Suffolk County Court Judge John Mullin, despite the conviction. Ahearn said, I'm extremely disturbed that he is free, he is a convicted violent child sex offender, and he should be locked up right now. This demonstrates the lack of priority for children who have been victimized. But Smiley wasn't smiling when he was thrown in jail two days later and after the Suffolk DA's office learned about a state law that took effect February 1st denying bail to defendants convicted of molesting minors. So Bayer, who had been upstate, was ordered to return to court. He has been sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.