Man pleads guilty to slapping Bears’ Devin Hester in casino
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org December 1, 2011 2:26PM
Chicago Bears kick returner and receiver Devin Hester. File photo
Updated: December 2, 2011 2:19AM
Chicago Bears star Devin Hester’s famous on-field moves couldn’t save him from a cheap shot when he ran into Daniel C. Rago in a Des Plaines casino.
The 52-year-old Rago — described by his attorney as a “huge Devin Hester fan” — pleaded guilty to battery Thursday for slapping Hester across the back of his head on Oct. 14.
Rago didn’t recognize the Bears wideout and kick returner at the Rivers Casino, but confronted him because he mistakenly thought Hester had cut in front of other people in a cashier’s line, Rago’s attorney said.
“He’s a huge Bears fan and a huge Devin Hester fan. He feels very bad about what happened,” attorney Frank Kostouros said of the Mount Prospect man.
After pleading guilty to the misdemeanor offense, Rago was sentenced to serve one year of conditional discharge — a form of probation — and also was fined $315 and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service work.
Cook County Judge Marguerite Quinn also ordered Rago to undergo an anger management evaluation.
Prosecutor Kimberly Przekota said Rago smacked Hester across the head and called him a “moron” in a clash she described as “insulting and unprovoked.”
Hester didn’t retaliate after the run-in, except to tell Rago not to touch him again, Przekota said.
Rago declined to comment after his brief court hearing, but his attorney called the 10:30 p.m. altercation “a complete misunderstanding.”
Rago thought Hester had jumped the cashier’s line when he in fact had been moved into a VIP line, prompting another man to step ahead of several people already waiting, Kostouros said.
“He’s just a suburban sports fan who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he did something stupid,” Kostouros said, describing Rago as “a very good guy.”
Rago, who is married with four children and works as a salesman, faced a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
At Bears practice in Lake Forest Thursday afternoon, Hester declined comment on Rago’s plea and sentencing.
Earlier, Hester was in the Skokie courthouse to discuss the case with prosecutors, but he wasn’t in the courtroom for Rago’s plea.
If Rago had recognized Hester in the casino, there would have been no trouble, Kostouros insisted.
“He said he probably would have hugged Devin if he’d recognized him,” Kostouros said. “He’s a big fan.”
Contributing: Mark Potash