A Chicago real estate attorney was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting a young Minnesota woman at a Streeterville hotel.
“There have been times when my good judgment has failed me and I’m truly sorry if that has negatively impacted other people, including [the victim],” Anthony Bergamino, 51, said before Cook County Judge Thomas Gainer sentenced him for attack at W Chicago Lakeshore, 644 N. Lake Shore Drive
The woman, who didn’t know Bergamino, was in town for a work conference and Lollapalooza at the time of the Aug. 7, 2012 incident.
During Bergamino’s trial, prosecutors accused the man of trying to cover up evidence of the crime by slathering his hand with Carmex lip balm.
The victim testified that Bergamino barged into her room and attacked her. She told jurors that she had propped her door open so a college classmate could easily come in whenever they reached the hotel.
Bergamino testified he had met the woman a few hours earlier and that she had invited him to come to the hotel bar with her and her friends and gave him her hotel number. He admitted he kissed and touched her, but said he never fondled her, as she claimed.
The victim, now 25, was not in court for Bergamino’s sentencing, but Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica read her victim impact statement prior to sentencing.
“My life was never the same after the night that Anthony Bergamino came into my hotel room. For the past 22 months, my life has been a series of constant anxiety, stress and pain,” the victim said.
The victim said in the statement that she had trouble sleeping and would wake up with nightmares and flashbacks. She said she stopped traveling for work and for leisure “because hotels felt unsafe.”
She took Xanax for five months and felt “completely numb to the world, but it was the only way I could handle everything that was going on.”
“Even after the verdict, this still affects my every day life. I still have flashbacks in the middle of the night and I still have panic attacks. This is something that will stay with me the rest of my life. I did not ask for this, I did not deserve this, as no woman does.”
Bergamino’s lawyers produced dozens of letters in support of the attorney, and also had three witnesses tell Gainer of his “selflessness and character.”
Defense attorney Jeffrey Urdangen argued that there was no “physical harm” as a result of the assault.
But Gainer wasn’t convinced.
“It’s obvious in the victim impact statement that this woman was seriously emotionally harmed,” the judge said.
Gainer called the attack “unprovoked and unwanted,” and perpetrated by Bergamino.
“There was no justification whatsoever,” Gainer said.
He also shot down alcohol as an excuse for the attack. “Alcohol may explain but does not excuse the attack,” Gainer said.