Work in Sports
Lawyer: Chmura's reputation tainted by arrest
Posted: Thursday April 13, 2000 08:33 PM
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Green Bay Packers star tight end Mark Chmura's arrest on allegations of sexual assault has blemished his reputation, his attorney said Tuesday, even though charges may be weeks away, if they come at all.
Throughout the day Tuesday, Chmura's name was at the center of Wisconsin radio talk shows and water-cooler conversations. Images of Chmura, a fan favorite since he joined Green Bay in 1992, in a jail jumpsuit and chains flashed on television newscasts around the state.
"It's self-evident he's hurting," attorney Gerald Boyle said.
"The publicity is overwhelming," he said. "Human nature is such that when something is said that is negative about a person, many people believe it. Mark recognizes that."
Hartland police were still looking into allegations that Chmura, a married father of two, sexually assaulted his 17-year-old baby sitter at a high school party at his neighbor Robert Gessert's house early Sunday. The party was held after Waukesha Catholic Memorial High School's prom.
Lt. Robert Rosch said Tuesday police were nearly finished interviewing the 20 or so people at the party and were trying to piece together a timeline of that night.
"We're actively going after the kids that were involved," Rosch said. "We've talked to the majority of them. We need to find out what they saw, who was there."
Investigators are also looking into whether parents supplied alcohol for the bash. Police have sent samples of Chmura's hair and blood to the state crime lab for analysis.
Bryan Van Deun, president of Catholic Memorial, a school of 1,010 students, stressed the party was not sanctioned by the school. He said he would wait until the police probe was finished before launching his own investigation. Under school codes, drinking can mean suspension from extracurricular activities.
Chmura, 31, and Gessert, 42, arrived at the party about 3:30 a.m., according to court records. The 17-year-old Pewaukee girl told police she was drunk when Chmura led her into a bathroom and had sex with her on the floor. She and Chmura said nothing to each other during the alleged assault, she told police.
The girl said she had known Chmura for two years from baby-sitting his two sons, according to a search warrant. Boyle acknowledged Chmura was at the party, but declined to say if he had been drinking.
An 18-year-old Muskego woman said Gessert fondled her a hot tub at the party.
Both Chmura and Gessert were arrested early Monday at their homes, which stand about a half-mile apart in the upscale Bristlecone Pines subdivision.
Both posted $5,000 bail and were released Monday afternoon. Police recommended charges of third-degree sexual assault, defined as having sex with someone without consent, against both men. Packers General Manager Ron Wolf declined comment Tuesday.
Chmura and Gessert have not been formally charged. District Attorney Paul Bucher said he expects to make a decision on whether to pursue charges by May 15, when Chmura and Gessert are due back in court.
"I'm in a holding pattern, just like everybody else," said Boyle, who also handled serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's defense.
"It's what the cops do that counts. We have to wait for the evidence," Boyle said. "I'm confident the DA will run a fair investigation."
Boyle said he thinks people can recover from damaged reputations.
"People are fair-minded," he said. "We're a very forgiving society."