Chmura Friend Pleads Out
By Adam Pitluk
Posted: Jan. 17, 2008
The host of the drunken post-prom party that led to sexual assault charges against former Green Bay Packer Mark Chmura accepted a plea deal Monday to avoid enduring his own sexual assault case.
Staring a 30-year prison sentence in the face, Robert Gessert pleaded no contest to charges related to failing to prevent underage drinking at the party thrown by his daughter last April. As part of the agreement Gessert will serve no jail time.
Chmura, 31, was acquitted last month of sexually assaulting his children’s 17-year-old babysitter at the same party. As one of the adults present that night, Chmura still faces charges of failing to prevent underage drinking at the party. He is scheduled to appear March 29 in the same Waukesha, Wis., court where his trial was held. Chmura faces a maximum penalty of a $300 fine for allowing drinking by Catholic Memorial High School students.
Gessert, 43, was scheduled to be tried on Tuesday for the more serious charges of second- and fourth-degree sexual assault. The teenager who accused him was a friend of Gessert’s daughter, Jamie. The girl said that in the wee hours of that April morning, when several high school students, Gessert and Chmura were in a hot tub, Gessert pulled her onto his lap as she was throwing up over the side of the hot tub. According to her statement, he then inserted a finger into her vagina.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mark Gempeler — the same judge who presided over the Chmura trial — sentenced Gessert to 80 hours of community service and fined him almost $6,000.
Gessert apologized in court on Monday to all parties involved, including his alleged victim, for allowing the teens to drink in his home in an affluent Milwaukee neighborhood.
“I did not supervise the drinking aspect of this so well,” he said.
At Mark Chmura’s trial, the teenager — identified by news organizations by just her first name, Kim, because she was an alleged victim of sexual assault — testified about what happened to her that night. Initially, she was teary eyed as she told a sordid tale of how on older man — a man she has trusted and known since she was a child — betrayed her trust by taking advantage of her while she was intoxicated.
She then switched gears on the stand and spoke of her hate for Gessert as well as the fact that her friendship with his daughter was destroyed by the events of that night.
The alleged victim seemed to have downshifted again when she spoke out in court Monday, reading from a statement that implored Gempeler not to send Gessert to prison.
“I’ve been through a lot,” Kim said. “I can also imagine that it’s been difficult for Jamie. I therefore urge the court not to impose any jail. I’ve lost my friendship with Jamie Gessert.”
Those in attendance Monday morning included Chmura and his wife Lynda and one of Chmura’s defense lawyers, Bridget Boyle.
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