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© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2001


WAUKESHA, Wis. -- Mark Chmura goes to trial today, charged with sexually assaulting his children's former babysitter at a high school party.

The 31-year-old former Packers tight end has pleaded innocent to felony charges of third-degree sexual assault and child enticement.

The trial will take place in suburban Waukesha. Jury selection begins today in Janesville, less than a two-hour drive from Milwaukee.

The prom party April 9, 2000, was held at the Hartland home of Robert Gessert, Chmura's friend.

Gessert, 43, has pleaded innocent to charges of second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree sexual assault involving an 18-year-old woman at the same party.

BUCS, PALMER TO TALK: Former Browns coach Chris Palmer is scheduled to interview with Bucs coach Tony Dungy today for the offensive coordinator position.

Palmer, who was fired after winning five games in two seasons with the expansion Browns, was expected to be in Tampa on Monday but moved his meeting with Dungy back a day.

Dungy has told officials he is leaning toward naming Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen offensive coordinator, perhaps as early as this week.

But Palmer achieved some outstanding results as the Jaguars offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Patriots.

SUIT THREATENED: The NFL said it will sue PepsiCo Inc. alleging infringement on the Bears' trademark if the company doesn't stop airing a commercial set in a locker room, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

BEARS: John Shoop was hired as offensive coordinator after Chicago won two of its final three games with him calling plays.

BENGALS: An arbitrator upheld a contract clause allowing the team to take away all or part of a player's signing bonus if he publicly criticizes officials, coaches or teammates.

BROWNS: Gregg Williams, whose Tennessee defense was the NFL's top-ranked unit, interviewed for Cleveland's coaching vacancy. Williams has been Titans defensive coordinator the past four seasons.

CHIEFS: Al Saunders is back with Kansas City as Dick Vermeil's offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, promising to "attack, attack, attack." Saunders was Marty Schottenheimer's receivers coach and assistant head coach with Kansas City from 1989-98. He served with Vermeil on the Rams team that won last year's Super Bowl. ... A Kansas City man was sentenced to four months in prison for helping former kick returner Tamarick Vanover transport a stolen vehicle. Norbert G. Scarlett, 28, also was sentenced to four months of home detention after he leaves prison.

SAINTS: Defensive assistant and former Bucs linebacker Winston Moss was promoted to linebackers coach. Moss, 35, replaces John Bunting, who became coach at North Carolina in December.

- Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report.

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