December 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Community service for gay business leader
Mark Guenther, CAGLCC, Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Guenther, director of the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

An unlawful entry charge filed by police in October against D.C. gay business leader Mark Guenther will be dismissed in four months if Guenther successfully completes community service work under a deferred prosecution program approved Dec. 13 by a D.C. Superior Court judge.

D.C. police charged Guenther, executive director of the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, with entering a male neighbor’s apartment without permission at 3 a.m. on Oct. 26.

A police charging document says Guenther emailed the neighbor to apologize for his action shortly after the neighbor, who was in bed, told him to leave the apartment. Guenther lives in an apartment across the hall from the neighbor’s apartment in a building on the 1400 block of Chapin Street, N.W., according to the charging document.

At a Dec. 13 court hearing, Judge Marisa J. Demeo approved a joint request by Guenther’s attorney and the prosecutor that Guenther be admitted into what officials call a deferred prosecution-diversion program involving community service work. Demeo left in place her earlier order that he stay away from the neighbor whose complaint led to the arrest.

The judge scheduled a status hearing for April 12, when she is expected to dismiss the charge after determining that Guenther fulfilled his obligations under the program.

Guenther and his attorney and the complainant have declined to comment on the case.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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