Over the Line?

Article excerpt

A REPORTER FOR the New York Post was arrested and charged with multiple counts after she allegedly posed as a relative of one of the passenger of fatal TWA Flight 80O, authorities said.

Post reporter Tonice Sgrignoli was arrested on July 23 at a hotel at Kennedy Airport, where the families of the crash victims were staying. She was charged with criminal impersonation, criminal trespass, petty larceny and possession of stolen property.

Police said Sgrignoli claimed to be a cousin of a passenger on the flight and managed to obtain an orange pin that was given to family members in the aftermath of the crash. The pin is used to identify and admit family members to memorial events and information briefings.

Sgrignoli donned the pin and assumed the false identity, police said, in order to gain access to weekend prayer services from which the public and press were barred.

Also, she crossed security checkpoints that were set up to insulate the families from the crush of reporters.

In a statement, George Marlin, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, condemned Sgrignoli's tactics "irresponsible to the extreme."

"Invading the privacy of people who have suffered so terribly is repugnant and violates the most basic standards of ethics," he said.

"The Port Authority will do everything possible to see that this case, and any other attempts to violate the privacy of grief-stricken people, is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. …