Accused serial rapist claims victim had misperceptions

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Chuck Goudie and the ABC7 I-Team report on efforts by lawyers for alleged rapist Marc Winner to discredit prosecution witnesses. (WLS)

Most sexual assault cases are never reported to police and of those that are, less than 20 percent are actually prosecuted according to law enforcement data.

The relative few that make it to court, play out much like the case against alleged serial rapist Marc Winner, now underway in Cook County. Winner's legal team claims the alleged victim was a willing participant in a night of romance; and suggests her accusation of sexual assault was generated by cocaine and alcohol.

Winner allegedly attacked a former employee of his West Loop tanning salon in July 2009. Prosecutors say the victim, named J.B. in court proceedings, had been out with girlfriends when she ran into her ex-boss.

Tuesday on the witness stand was a Chicago police officer who first encountered J.B. on the night of the alleged sexual assault.

"J.B. was very distressed, ah, crying and very upset," said CPD patrolman William Colon.

"She said I was raped," by Winner, according to Colon.

Prosecutors asked several witnesses on Tuesday whether J.B. appeared intoxicated from drinking that evening or cocaine she consumed that was provided by Winner.

All said no, as government attorneys tried to establish that her accusation of rape was not fueled by alcohol or drugs.

Winner's attorneys pressed prosecution witnesses, from police to doctors, about the alleged victim's state of mind and her sobriety after drinking and using cocaine.

In a feisty exchange, Winner's lead attorney Steven Weinberg cross-examined the emergency room doctor who examined J.B.

Weinberg asked Dr. Samuel Hayward, who was then working at UIC hospital, about the effects of cocaine.

"Certainly can lead to feelings of restlessness, correct?" asked Weinberg.

It "can" replied Hayward tersely.

"And it can lead to angry outbursts...to paranoia" Weinberg said.

"It could" replied Hayward.

And then Weinberg asked if "it affects one's ability to perceive?" and whether "perceptions get altered from drugs and cocaine?"

Hayward replied that both are true.

That exchange seemed to firm up what is becoming a prime tactic for the defense: build a picture of the victim as being under the influence the night of the alleged attack.

Why a 2009 rape case is being prosecuted just now came into focus on Tuesday. The Chicago police detective assigned to the Winner investigation admitted she never followed up on DNA testing results from the state, highlighting archaic Illinois State Police communications with Chicago P.D. that resulted in Winner not being arrested for four years and the case not coming to trial for eight.

The trial continues on Wednesday and Winner himself could take the stand on Thursday, with closing arguments as early as Friday.

The ABC7 I-Team is recording audio of the courtroom proceedings and that is part of our continuing coverage of the Winner case.
Related Topics:
I-TeamrapetrialChicagoWest Loop
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