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Mark Chmura Trial Set To Begin

January 22, 2001

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Mark Chmura goes to trial Tuesday, charged with sexually assaulting his children’s former baby sitter at a high school party.

The 31-year-old former Green Bay Packers star has pleaded innocent to felony charges of third-degree sexual assault and child enticement.

The trial will take place in suburban Waukesha. Jury selection begins Tuesday in Janesville, less than a two-hour drive from Milwaukee.

The prom party on April 9, 2000, was held at the Hartland home of Robert Gessert, Chmura’s friend.

Gessert, 43, has pleaded innocent to charges of second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree sexual assault involving an 18-year-old woman at the same party.

Chmura is accused of assault by a 17-year-old girl. The girl’s mother said she was enraged when she learned of what supposedly happened at the party.

``So I said, ’Who is he, because I’m going to kill him,‴ she said in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday. ``I wanted to shoot him. And we do have a gun in our house.″

High school football player Michael Kleber initially told police he saw the 17-year-old girl enter a bathroom after Chmura with a ``smile.″ But in a revised statement a month later he made no reference to seeing the girl follow Chmura into the bathroom.

Kleber intends to stick with his original statement when he testifies during Chmura’s trial, according to a letter filed by his lawyer, Gerald Boisits.

Asked if her daughter could have exaggerated what happened, only to see it snowball, the mother told the newspaper, ``I could see how people could think that,″ but the woman insisted that was not the case.

She said her family doesn’t plan to sue Chmura for damages if he is convicted.

The woman said her daughter was responsible, with good grades and no discipline problems, though she had previously drank alcohol and drank at the prom party.

Her daughter testified during a preliminary hearing in May that she entered the bathroom after Chmura gestured to her and called her over. The mother said her daughter told her she didn’t yell or fight Chmura in the bathroom because ``he was so big″ and she was in shock.

She told the Journal Sentinel her daughter is ready to testify during the trial, but devastated that network Court TV plans to broadcast the trial live.

Chmura’s lawyers plan to argue that the girl’s hymen was intact after the party, proving he didn’t assault her. Prosecutors contend it is not unusual for the hymen to remain intact after a sexual assault.

The mother said her daughter is studying at a college where the case receives little attention.

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