Skip to comments.Videotaped rape suspect is free
Posted on 03/04/2006 7:23:49 PM PST by wagglebee
His parents hugged each other in the Bridgeview courtroom as 20-year-old Adrian Missbrenner was acquitted Friday of charges he raped a Naperville girl in an assault captured on videotape during a 2002 party in the family's Burr Ridge home.
But his parents had to wait five hours to share their joy with their son, who late Friday was processed out of Cook County Jail, where he has been detained since last May.
"I want to hug him. I haven't hugged him for nine months,'' his mother, Dobrila Missbrenner, said after leaving the courtroom Friday evening.
She got her wish about 10:30 p.m. when the young Missbrenner walked out of the jail wearing a black leather jacket, jeans and a big smile.
"Now everybody knows what really happened. They made it out to be something it wasn't," Missbrenner said, citing the tape of the alleged assault as a key factor in his acquittal.
The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated for over four hours on Friday before acquitting Missbrenner of criminal sexual assault and child pornography charges. Prosecutors argued the videotape shot during the party showed the 16-year-old girl was too drunk to knowingly consent to having sex with Missbrenner, then 17, and two other men charged with sexually assaulting her.
Family members and Missbrenner's attorneys insisted the 14-minute tape showed the sex was consensual.
"We think justice has finally prevailed,'' Missbrenner's father, Damir Missbrenner, said after the verdict. "We're happy to finally have our son back.''
The verdicts come after Missbrenner fled in 2004 to Serbia while free on bail. He returned voluntarily last May and has been jailed since then.
Jurors left without commenting on their deliberations or the case, which drew national attention, particularly after Judge Kerry M. Kennedy on Tuesday threatened Missbrenner's accuser with contempt charges after she refused to watch the videotape in court.
That warning outraged crime-victim advocates, and Kennedy backed off a day later, ruling that the woman didn't have to watch the tape during her cross-examination by Missbrenner's lawyers.
Missbrenner's family said they believed the tape was critical in winning his acquittal.
"The tape all along showed she was consenting. She was participating,'' Dobrila Missbrenner said, blasting prosecutors for filing criminal charges not only against her son, but against two of his friends who also were accused of assaulting the girl.
One of those men, Christopher Robbins of Brookfield, was acquitted last year of all charges and was in the courtroom Friday when Missbrenner was acquitted. He declined to comment on the verdict.
A third man, Burim Bezeri of Lyons, also was charged with assaulting the girl, but he vanished in September 2004 and is believed to be hiding in eastern Europe. Dobrila Missbrenner said she hopes Bezeri returns to the United States because she believes he also would be acquitted of the charges he faces.
"It's happened two times. It needs to happen one more time,'' Missbrenner said.
While two separate juries have acquitted Missbrenner and Robbins of illegal conduct, a spokesman for Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine defended the decision to file criminal charges against the men.
"This case was brought in good faith based on the evidence we had of a young girl being assaulted,'' said spokesman John Gorman. "We have no second thoughts about bringing this case.''
Mom admits his error
As for Friday's acquittal: "We don't agree with the verdict, but we respect it,'' Gorman said.
Missbrenner's accuser, now 20, wasn't in the courtroom when the verdicts were announced, nor were her mother and two sisters, who had been present earlier in the day for final arguments.
A family attorney, though, called the acquittal "very disappointing.''
"It sends the wrong message (that) when the girl is drunk and unconscious, you may not be held accountable for your actions,'' said attorney George Acosta, who represents the woman in a pending civil suit against Missbrenner.
Striking a note that her son's attorney sounded during his closing arguments, Dobrila Missbrenner acknowledged that her son erred in drinking alcohol and having sex with the teen during the Dec. 7, 2002, party.
"What he did do wrong was to have group sex and drink,'' Missbrenner said of her son. "It's not something I would say is all right.''
Earlier, prosecutors Cheryl Schroeder and Michael Deno urged jurors to convict Missbrenner, saying the tape showed the Naperville girl was so groggy and intoxicated it was impossible for her to consent to sex.
"This defendant and his friends knew [the girl] had no idea what was going on and they took advantage of it,'' Schroeder said. "There is no consent on that tape.''
She reminded jurors that after the sexual activity on the tape ended, the girl was spit on repeatedly and sexual slurs were scrawled on her legs and abdomen with markers. Missbrenner was in the room when that happened, although there was no testimony he took part in those acts.
"They treated her worse than you'd treat a dead dog in the street,'' Schroeder said.
'A moral issue, not a legal issue'
Defense attorney Patrick Campanelli, though, argued that while Missbrenner's actions may have been "morally wrong,'' he never committed a crime and regrets what occurred during the party.
"He regrets every day that night,'' Campanelli said, reminding jurors that Missbrenner was a 17-year-old high school student when the party occurred.
"What happened was an insult, not an assault,'' Campanelli said. "This is a moral issue, not a legal issue.'' Later, though, he argued the girl lied when she testified she was so drunk she couldn't remember engaging in any sexual activity.
As Missbrenner left the courtroom, Judge Kennedy reminded him that he still must successfully complete a three-year term of probation imposed last fall after Missbrenner was convicted of felony bail jumping for fleeing to Serbia.
"You're still on probation to me,'' Kennedy said. "Good luck.''
"Videotaped rape suspect is free"
A sixteen year old girl was drunk and raped repeatedly on videotape!
To be included in or removed from the MORAL ABSOLUTES PINGLIST, please FreepMail wagglebee.
Icky bunch of people.
Those punks need their asses kicked and kicked hard.
She was Drunk and 16...Two wrongs there right on the get go.
If you were accused of a crime you didnt commit, ask for a judge to hear your case.
If you are accused of a crime you DID commit, ask for a jury, because most of the time, you can get 12 people of room temp. IQ's who will believe anything you tell them.
Where did it say she was UNCONSCIOUS? You might think it's disgusting...but if she was drunk, and went along with it...NO JAIL TIME FOR THE MEN. SORRY.
She was videotaped, that is still child pornography regardless of her ability to consent.
If it was my daughter, he wouldn't have been in jail. I would have, and the punk scum rapists would be in the ground.
I never said she was unconscious, and there is a level of drunkeness where physical consciousness is a moot point.
And are you sayin that child pornography should not be punished?
Is it any wonder I have so little faith in our justice system right now? While it may be the best in the world (or so I'm told), it is severely broken.
If she was drunk then she couldn't consent.
Train pulling ping.
I predict that he will be arrested and charged with another rape again within the next few years.
the men were drunk as well.. so why wasn't she charged with rape?
"Judge Kerry M. Kennedy"
Hopefully if he tries to rape another woman she will be carrying a loaded 9mm.
Good point there IPOD.
I didn't even catch that!
I agree what took place was disgusting, not so sure about the jury verdict, however. Basically, 3 drunk people having sex. Afterwards, the girl feels guilty and icky, and says it is rape. Parents should be teaching their kids (girls especially) about the dangers of alcohol in situations like this.
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