Lawyer accused of assaulting woman says kissing, touching were consensual
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter February 26, 2014 6:22PM
Anthony Bergamino / photo from the Cook County Sheriff's office
Updated: February 26, 2014 10:51PM
A real estate attorney testified Wednesday that the out-of-town woman who said he sexually assaulted her at the W Chicago Lakeshore hotel grabbed his hand, led him into her dark hotel room and voluntarily made out with him in bed.
Anthony Bergamino Jr., 51, said the Minnesota woman’s account of what occurred in the early morning hours of Aug 7, 2012, was “almost entirely false.”
He also said he only rubbed his hand with Carmex lip balm following his arrest in order to clean his hands after using the rest room — not to taint evidence, as Cook County prosecutors had suggested.
The alleged victim, now 25, testified Tuesday that Bergamino was a complete stranger who barged into her unlocked hotel room, pinned her down with his body and drunkenly kissed, fondled and performed a sex act on her.
The woman, in town for a work conference and Lollapalooza, said she had propped her door open so a friend could come in. Instead Bergamino entered her room, attacked her and told her he wanted to “f - - - her.”
But Bergamino, who lives next door to the hotel, said he and the woman met hours earlier, when she laughed at the joke he made as he stumbled over a construction barricade on Ontario Street.
As the two walked down the street, Bergamino said, the woman gave him her room number and invited him to join her and her friends at the hotel bar.
Bergamino said he was hoping she would come up to his condo in the 600 block of North Lake Shore Drive.
“I said, ‘I have a better view,’ and I invited her over for a drink,” Bergamino said.
Bergamino, who had some wine earlier at dinner, said he then headed to a bar, where he had three scotches and beer.
Afterward, he decided to take the woman he had met up on her alleged offer.
When he noticed the Streeterville hotel’s bar was closed, Bergamino said, he made a beeline to the woman’s room and knocked.
“She took my hand and led me in. . . . She walked me over to the bed and we both got in. We were both kissing and touching each other,” Bergamino said. “. . . It was a very consensual engagement, interaction.”
The woman eventually started to “tense up,” saying that her friend was about to come and visit, the bespectacled lawyer said.
Bergamino said he told the woman he wanted to have sex with her but also said “no means no” and left, saying he would come back.
Bergamino said he was a bit confused about what had unfolded and went outside the hotel, 644 N. Lake Shore Drive.
As he sat on a rocking chair on the hotel property, he saw two police cars drive up but didn’t think anything of it.
When Bergamino went back up to the 31st floor to see if the woman wanted to come back to his condo, he saw the officers, who arrested him.
Bergamino, a University of Chicago Law School graduate, said that as the son of the “germaphobe,” he would have washed his hands with dirt if he could after using the unhygienic rest room at the 18th District police station.
Bergamino said he swiped his tube of Carmex on his hand because it was “my only option,” given that there was no water or paper towels.
“It’s an added bonus that it’s an antimicrobial,” said Bergamino, who happened to have a tube of Carmex with him in court on Wednesday.
During a brief cross-examination by Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica, Bergamino, admitted that he didn’t let an evidence technician swab his hand when he was questioned by police.
Bergamino is charged with criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault. He also is charged with residential burglary for the alleged break-in to the woman’s hotel room.