John Robert Mester has been in counseling ever since he was accused in June of having sexual intercourse with a horse on his neighbor’s property.
A psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker have taken an interest in his case, Mester’s attorney, Robert Hackett, told Clinton County Circuit Judge Randy Tahvonen during a sentence hearing Monday.
Mester, who pleaded guilty in September to attempted sodomy – a felony charge – acknowledged that he needs help.
“I know I have some psychological issues,” he told Tahvonen. “I know my actions are (in)excusable.”
Tahvonen sentenced the 62-year-old Riley Township man to 90 days in jail and five years of probation. He also ordered Mester to pay more than $4,200 in restitution to his neighbor, Cindy Heistand, who runs a horse boarding business on her property.
Heistand said she lost at least one boarder after that boarder saw Mester roaming her horse pasture. Although the boarder didn’t witness anything, the boarder apparently knew that Mester a decade ago had been accused of having sexual intercourse with a pony in Olive Township.
In that case, he pleaded no contest to attempted animal torture and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Hackett said in court he was surprised Mester did not undergo counseling after the previous conviction.
Hackett declined to comment after the hearing.
Heistand, who has run the boarding business since about 2002, said after the hearing she could never have imagined dealing with a such a problem.
“It’s just absurd,” Heistand said.
Mester initially was charged with bestiality – which under state law is punishable by up to 15 years in prison – as well as indecent exposure.
A surveillance video in June captured Mester on Heistand’s horse pasture, overturning a bucket behind a thoroughbred mare, standing on the bucket and apparently engaging in a sexual act.
Heistand set up the surveillance camera because boarders expressed concern about a man seen roaming the pasture and feeding the horses.
Since being charged, Mester’s wife has supported him, Hackett said.
“She has been by his side this entire time – albeit a very embarrassing situation,” Hackett told Tahvonen.
As he was being led out of the courtroom by deputies, Mester – who walks with an extreme limp that Hackett said was the result of an 1988 diving accident – paused for a kiss from his wife.