Broome County district attorney candidate Michael Korchak is pushing for regulations addressing the conduct of law enforcement personnel with those involved in criminal investigations.

Korchak now is the chief assistant district attorney. On Tuesday afternoon, he said he had sent a letter to county lawmakers asking them to help draft regulations prohibiting "romantic relationships" with a witness, victim or informant while a case is pending.

The call for action follows Senator Fred Akshar's acknowledgement of a sexual encounter with the mother of a man whose murder he investigated while a Broome County Sheriff's Office captain.

Korchak said many agencies have a general rule prohibiting "conduct unbecoming a police officer" that deals with actions affecting the "integrity, honesty or the reputation of the department when they're in or out of uniform."

Fred Akshar when he was employed by the Broome County Sheriff's Office. (Photo: Kathy Whyte/WNBF News)

Akshar posted a statement on Facebook asserting that "no laws or codes of ethics were violated at any time."

The Endwell Republican accused Korchak of using the matter for political gain because he endorsed Paul Battisti in the Republican primary for district attorney.

Korchak dismissed Akshar's contention that the issue is being raised as part of a "concerted, politically-motivated smear attempt." He said "this isn't about politics, it's not about whether something is technically illegal, or whether it was consent or non-consent. It's improper conduct or improper contact between a police officer and a crime victim."

Korchak said "it's a line that should never be crossed and it was crossed in this particular case."

Although Akshar acknowledged a "brief, consensual relationship" with Mirella Masciarelli, she has said she could not have consented because she was intoxicated.

Akshar, who represents the 52nd Senate District, also is a part time police officer in the village of Port Dickinson.

Battisti issued this statement in response to Korchak's latest remarks: “Mike Korchak is the worst kind of politician. He’ll say or do anything to try to get elected. His blatant politicization is a perfect example of why we need principled new leadership at the District Attorney’s Office.”

Paul Battisti in the "Binghamton Now" studio on January 30, 2019. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

This story was updated to include a comment from Paul Battisti.

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