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Hobart man with history of animal abuse seeks procedure for less prison time
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Hobart man with history of animal abuse seeks procedure for less prison time

CROWN POINT — A Hobart man with a history of sexually abusing animals is asking a federal judge to release him under the condition he undergoes chemical castration, U.S. District court records show. 

Michael C. Bessigano, 47, was arrested in January at Westville Correctional Center in LaPorte County on allegations he violated conditions of his supervised release from prison for his 2009 obscenity conviction.

At the time, the facility had been preparing to release Bessigano, who was finishing a state prison sentence for animal cruelty. 

In a sentencing memorandum filed this week, Bessigano's attorney Jennifer Soble requested the courts take into account time already served incarcerated, and in exchange for his release, have him undergo therapy and monthly injections of a testosterone-reducing drug, Depo-Lupron. 

His attorney argued her client's conduct is "motivated by sexual desire, not by sadism or any desire to hurt animals."

Soble said Bessigano has been evaluated by Dr. Fred Berlin, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and attending physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who ultimately recommended the course of supervised injections over more prison time, according to court documents. 

Sobel argued additional prison time will do nothing to help her client. 

"For obvious reasons, it will hurt Mr. Bessigano: every day of incarceration is another day in which he is not receiving the hormone therapy that will end his sexual urges," Sobel argued in court filings.

Bessigano has a history of bestiality dating back to 1993 when he was convicted of breaking into a rural St. John Township barn and killing a dog. He said during his trial he would rather live with animals than people.

He pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for downloading bestiality pornography on his home computer.

He was serving three years of federal supervised released when he was arrested March 8, 2013, for sexually abusing a guinea fowl in Lowell. That was a violation of his federal probation.

Bessigano pleaded guilty in 2014 to theft of the bird and was sentenced to seven and a half years as a habitual offender.

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