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Sydnee Steele canceled as speaker at NY State Bar Association seminar

WWW- [thejournalnews.com]- On the introduction to her Web site, adult film actress Sydnee Steele poses the question, “Ever wonder what I am doing besides having sex on film?”

Apparently one of the things she was planning to do this summer was to appear at the New York State Bar Association’s Family Law Section Summer Meeting at the exclusive Equinox Hotel in Manchester Village, Vt.

In the brochure for the event – sandwiched between talks on “Powers and Limitations of Powers of the Judiciary” and “How it Works in England: Matrimonial Issues of Common Interest with New York State” – is a talk by Steele titled “Sex and Love – Making Your Time Away From the Office Really Count and How Not to Wind up as One of Your Clients.”

Steele, who has appeared in more than 200 films, is billed as “an internationally published author, speaker and sexual empowerment consultant.”

According to the bar association’s brochure, “She will talk with us about love, intimacy, happier relationships, better sex and teach us how to get everything and then some out of our personal relationships. She will also talk with us about how to avoid becoming one of our clients. This promises to be a fun, educational, provocative and enlightening discussion.”

The photograph of Steele that appears in the brochure is identical to one that appears on one of several Web sites she has on the Internet. Among the films she has appeared in that are for sale are “Sex Offenders 1,” “Finally Legal 2” and “Sinister Secretary.” In a 2006 interview with Adult Video News, a trade magazine, Steele told a reporter she had made her last film in April 2005 and quit the business to become an author and consultant, and published a book titled “Seducing Your Woman.”

When first contacted about Steele’s appearance at the seminar for family court lawyers, the chairman of the Family Law Section, Patrick O’Reilly, said the decision to hire Steele was under review. “We didn’t know that she still had a Web site with a lot of references to her former career, so we’re very seriously considering canceling the presentation.”

When asked whose idea it was to hire Steele, O’Reilly replied, “It’s my decision and I’m not going to get into pointing fingers, because the buck stops with me. It’s my program, and I’m reconsidering the decision based on some things that have come to light.”

Within two hours, O’Reilly called back and said a decision had been made to replace Steele as a guest speaker.

“What sounded like a lighthearted idea has turned into too much of a newsworthy item,” O’Reilly said. “And frankly we didn’t have the same spin when I made the decision back in January.

“What she allegedly has been trying to do in recent years sounded like an interesting topic, but it’s just too hot for our group right now.”

Steele did not return an e-mail message sent Wednesday seeking comment.

Pace University Law School professor Bennett Gershman, a legal scholar and author of two books on prosecutorial and judicial ethics, said the decision to hire a former adult film star was misguided, at best.

“It just strikes me as so incongruous to juxtapose this sort of speaker with what the lawyers actually do. I just don’t see the connection,” Gershman said.

“It’s fun, it’s frivolous, it’s a Friday-night entertainment at a very attractive getaway. But it just sort of looks ridiculous. It’s not meant to be serious, I assume.”

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