Chmura Is Not Guilty
Former Green Bay Packer tight end Mark Chmura was acquitted Saturday night of sexually assaulting a former baby-sitter at a drunken post-prom party last April.
The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for 2 hours 15 minutes before finding Chmura not guilty on charges of third-degree sexual assault and child enticement. The charges carried a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
Chmura put his face in his hands and quietly wept as Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mark Gempeler read the verdicts, ending a nine-day trial that reportedly was one of the most closely watched in Wisconsin history. A group of about 50 people waiting outside the courtroom broke into cheers when Chmura left the courtroom.
“We’re on top of the world,” defense attorney Gerald Boyle said.
Chmura made a brief statement, his wife Lynda at his side, thanking the jurors and “My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” for giving him the strength to handle the situation. He planned a news conference for today.
“I’d like to thank the jury for taking in all the evidence, seeing what happened and then rendering their decision,” Chmura said.
His agent said Chmura, 31, was ready to resume his NFL career and listen to offers from teams, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Chmura, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was released by the Packers last June.
One juror, a woman, cried as Gempeler read the verdicts. The jury left shortly after the verdicts were read without speaking to reporters.
District Atty. Paul Bucher also left without talking to reporters.
Chmura’s accuser, who used to baby-sit for Chmura’s two sons, was not in the courtroom.
The teenager, who was 17 at the time of the alleged attack, accused Chmura of pulling her into a bathroom during an April 9 party at his friend Robert Gessert’s Hartland home, pulling down her pants and having sex with her without her consent.
Boyle contended that Chmura’s accuser was lying and made the story up because she disliked Chmura. Chmura did not testify.
Another teen at the party, Waukesha Catholic Memorial High football player Michael Kleber, testified that he warned Chmura’s accuser not to go into the bathroom because Chmura was in there.
Kleber also testified the teenager went into the bathroom willingly, flashing him a smile.
Kleber, an all-state offensive tackle, said he idolized Chmura and followed him to the bathroom door.
Boyle said Kleber’s testimony turned the case.
Chmura’s accuser testified that she disliked the former NFL star because he made suggestive remarks to her and had hit on her when she baby-sat his children, once giving her a $20 tip because she was cute. She also testified that both she and Chmura were drunk at the party, which Gessert’s daughter held after the Waukesha Catholic Memorial High prom. A nurse who examined the teen later that day testified that injuries Chmura’s accuser suffered were consistent with sexual assault.
A nurse and a doctor specializing in sexual assault examinations testified for the defense that the injuries to the teen could have been caused by something else, such as wet clothes or an ill-fitting bathing suit. The teen had testified she borrowed a swimsuit to go into a hot tub at the party. The nurse also testified she would have expected Chmura to have similar injuries. An examination the day after the party showed he had none.
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