Officer to plead guilty in bartender's beating

March 10, 2008 9:09:17 PM PDT
An off-duty Chicago police officer accused of beating a female bartender is expected to plead guilty Tuesday. Anthony Abbate was caught on videotape beating and kicking the woman during an alleged drunken rage in a bar in Chicago's West Loop last year.

Abbate is scheduled to be court Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Sources say he's likely to plead guilty to at least some of the charges, and some of the charges could be reduced. As for sentencing, that may be put off until a later date.

It was the video seen round the world. Anthony Abbate, all 250 pounds of him, was allegedly drunk and beating up a 115-pound female bartender.

Legal experts say the beating is serious enough that it would likely lead to a stiff sentence for anyone involved. But because Abbate was an off-duty Chicago police officer, they say it's even more serious.

"That's somebody that is supposed to be there to serve and protect, not to assault and strike. That's what this guy was doing," said Leonard Cavise, DePaul University law professor.

The bartender, Karolina Obrycka, suffered injuries to her head, ribs and arms. She had apparently angered Abbate when she refused to continue serving him alcohol. She has also filed a civil suit against him.

In the criminal case, Abbate is charged with 15 felony counts, including aggravated battery, intimidation, conspiracy and official misconduct. The maximum sentence would be five years in prison.

While the judge has the final say in the case, sources say Abbate's sentence could likely include probation and a very short amount of time behind bars.

"It seems a 30-day sentence, given the seriousness of the beating and the public trust, is a light sentence," said Cavise.

Sources say Abbate wants to have witnesses testify on his behalf before sentencing.

Abbate is currently suspended without pay from the department. The city is in the process of trying to fire him.