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|Prosecutor(s):|| Chuck Sherman|
|Defense(s): ||Robert Hackett|
|Judge(s):|| Randy Tahvonen| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Wednesday, Jun 1, 2011County: Clinton
Charges: Felony CTA
Defendant/Suspect: John Robert Mester
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Cindy Heistand suspected the man she and others saw on her horse pasture was doing more than feeding the horses.
Some of her customers - Heistand runs a boarding stable in Riley Township - had seen the man feeding them oats and corn from a bucket. But Heistand believed something else was happening.
So last fall, she bought a long-range video surveillance camera and set it up so it overlooked a section of the 15-acre pasture.
In mid-June, she said, it captured images that were shocking, disturbing, pornographic.
The man placed an overturned bucket behind one of the horses, a thoroughbred mare, stood on the bucket, flipped up a sheet covering the horse, and appeared to have sexual intercourse with the animal.
"The first time we saw the video, we were flabbergasted," Heistand said. "Never in your weirdest mind would you suspect he was doing that."
Clinton County prosecutors have charged 62-year-old John Robert Mester with one count of bestiality, a 15-year felony, as well as one count of aggravated indecent exposure.
His attorney, Robert Hackett, declined to comment on the case.
A preliminary hearing, which determines if Mester will stand trial, is set for July 21.
Mester, who is Heistand's neighbor, was accused of a similar crime 10 years ago in Olive Township, court records show.
In 2001, Mester was accused of having sexual intercourse with a pony. He pleaded no contest to attempted animal torture, records show, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a year of probation.
Mester, who is married, was arraigned June 30 in Clinton County District Court on the new charges. He was released on a $5,000 bond, records show.
The aggravated indecent exposure charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail. Authorities say he could be seen in one of the videos fondling himself.
Clinton County Prosecutor Chuck Sherman, who has been the county's prosecutor since the late-1980s, said he rarely sees cases of people having sex with animals, but it does happen.
"I can honestly say that this is the only time I've charged somebody with it for the second time," Sherman said.
Heistand said she usually has 10 to 15 horses living at her facility. None have become sick, but it is a concern, she said.
Horse digestive systems are extremely sensitive, she said, and what they eat has to be regulated. If they are being fed additional grain, it could make them sick.
"That's what makes me very upset and nervous," Heistand said. "If any of the horses get sick, my boarders are going to be upset with me."
|John Robert Mester has been in counseling ever since he was accused in June of having sexual intercourse with a horse on his neighbor's property.|
A psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker have taken an interest in his case, Mester's attorney, Robert Hackett, told Clinton County Circuit Judge Randy Tahvonen during a sentence hearing Monday.
Mester, who pleaded guilty in September to attempted sodomy â€" a felony charge â€" acknowledged that he needs help.
"I know I have some psychological issues," he told Tahvonen. "I know my actions are (in)excusable."
Tahvonen sentenced the 62-year-old Riley Township man to 90 days in jail and five years of probation. He also ordered Mester to pay more than $4,200 in restitution to his neighbor, Cindy Heistand, who runs a horse boarding business on her property.
Heistand said she lost at least one boarder after that boarder saw Mester roaming her horse pasture. Although the boarder didn't witness anything, the boarder apparently knew that Mester a decade ago had been accused of having sexual intercourse with a pony in Olive Township.
In that case, he pleaded no contest to attempted animal torture and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Hackett said in court he was surprised Mester did not undergo counseling after the previous conviction.
Hackett declined to comment after the hearing.
Heistand, who has run the boarding business since about 2002, said after the hearing she could never have imagined dealing with a such a problem.
"It's just absurd," Heistand said.
Mester initially was charged with bestiality - which under state law is punishable by up to 15 years in prison - as well as indecent exposure.
A surveillance video in June captured Mester on Heistand's horse pasture, overturning a bucket behind a thoroughbred mare, standing on the bucket and apparently engaging in a sexual act.
Heistand set up the surveillance camera because boarders expressed concern about a man seen roaming the pasture and feeding the horses.
Since being charged, Mester's wife has supported him, Hackett said.
"She has been by his side this entire time â€" albeit a very embarrassing situation," Hackett told Tahvonen.
As he was being led out of the courtroom by deputies, Mester â€" who walks with an extreme limp that Hackett said was the result of an 1988 diving accident â€" paused for a kiss from his wife.
|Source: freep.com - Nov 15, 2011|
Update posted on Nov 18, 2011 - 8:19AM
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