Animal abuser attacked in jail

Police say he was attacked by inmate involved in another unusual arrest
2001-11-29T00:00:00Z Animal abuser attacked in jailKEN KOSKY Times Staff Writer
November 29, 2001 12:00 am  • 

VALPARAISO -- The man who was jailed after admitting he had sex with a chicken earlier this year was beaten up Tuesday morning inside jail.

Michael Bessigano, 31, of Valparaiso, suffered numerous cuts and abrasions to his head and chest during the attack. Bessigano was taken to Porter Memorial Hospital for treatment, then was released and was returned to his cell block.

The attacker was identified as David J. Williams, 22, of Benton Harbor, Mich. After the attack, Williams was charged with battery and was placed in an isolation cell.

Williams, like Bessigano, had already spent a considerable amount of time in jail after getting arrested under strange circumstances.

Williams was arrested Nov. 4 after Burns Harbor police responded to a complaint about a woman trying to get truckers at Williams Travel Center to pay for sex.

When police arrived, they were told no sex occurred, but the suspect cut a trucker's hand with a knife. Further investigation revealed the suspect was really a cross-dressing man, and he was identified as Williams.

Williams was arrested on charges of battery, prostitution, resisting, possession of cocaine and possession of paraphernalia.

Once inside the jail, Williams did not attack Bessigano because he is an admitted animal abuser, Porter County police said. Rather, Williams became angry about his commissary account at the jail and attempted to start fights with other inmates.

Police said Williams is nine inches taller than the 5-foot-3 Bessigano and may have attacked Bessigano because he's the smallest man in the cell block.

Williams denied starting the fight.

Bessigano, who has been jailed even longer than Williams, has been in jail since his May 29 arrest on a felony animal cruelty charge. A habitual offender charge was added because it was the third crime against animals he had been charged with.

Bessigano faces up to 7-1/2 years in prison once his case goes to trial early next year, but he wants to receive intensive treatment specifically tailored for bestiality addicts. He added during the interview earlier this year that jail life isn't easy for someone like himself.

"Before any of the inmates knew what I was into, I was one of them," he said. "As soon as they found out, I was nothing. I went to dirt."

Ken Kosky can be reached at or (219) 462-5151, Ext. 354.

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