Accused serial rapist Marc Winner convicted by Cook County judge

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Marc Winner, 47, was charged in the 2009 attack on a former tanning salon employee. (WLS)

A former West Loop tanning salon owner was convicted on Tuesday in the first of several rape cases against him.

Marc Winner, 47, was charged in the 2009 attack on a former tanning salon employee.

After court the victim in the case, known during trial as J.B., emerged from anonymity and asked to be identified.

"I would just like to say to any victim of sexual assault," said Justine Bour. "I hope you can hear my story and maintain hope despite the passage of time despite obstacles despite what seems like the end of the road. Don't give up persevere."

Cook County Judge Carol Howard announced her decision in the case on Tuesday afternoon. Winner was tried on two charges of criminal sexual assault and one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Howard convicted Winner on one count of criminal sexual assault and found him guilty of a lesser version of the criminal sexual abuse count. She found him not guilty on the second count of criminal sexual account.

Assistant State's Attorney Mikki Miller told the court he faces four to 15 years behind bars because of the judge's findings.

Winner's bond was revoked and he was taken into custody after the hearing.

During the week-long bench trial, Bour testified that Winner had met up with her during a girls' night out and that they went back to his condo in the West Loop and nearby tanning parlor, Soleil. The tanning business has since been shut down.

Bour gave play-by-play of a horrific encounter with Winner, during which she said he violently restrained her, bit her, shoved her and forced sex with her.

At one point during the evening, Bour called her sister and said that she feared Winner was going to rape her.

During testimony in his own defense, Winner blamed Bour for arranging the evening meetup and denied forcing himself on her or even having sex with her.

Under direct examination, Winner refuted - point by point - all charges made by the victim. Winner said that after they drank and did lines of cocaine in his condo in July 2009, Bour wanted to see new tanning equipment at his salon across the street. She had previously worked there for Winner.

In monotone, seemingly rehearsed testimony, Winner described their encounter as consensual.

"She was giving me signals all night and we were fooling around," he said.

While Winner said he did expose himself to her, he contended that they never had sexual relations, he never forcibly restrained Bour, never hijacked her cellphone and never kept her against her will - all sharply different from the evening that she had described from the witness stand.

During trial, Winner also denied any physical contact whatsoever with a second alleged sexual assault victim who testified for the prosecution this week to substantiate a pattern of criminal behavior.

That woman, identified by the initials S.M., testified that Winner grabbed and manhandled her during an encounter in December 2012 and forced pills down her throat. She claimed to have blacked out after Winner pushed her on a bed, got on top of her and pinned her down.

Winner denied all of those accusations.

"Did you do anything at all to S.M.?" asked Winner's attorney Steven Weinberg.

"No," replied Winner.

During his time on the witness stand, the alleged serial rapist generously peppered his answers with, "I don't recall," "I don't know," and "I don't remember."

The defense only put on one main witness - the defendant Winner. He eschewed a jury trial in this case, and it was heard by Judge Howard, who had denied his request for a directed verdict of acquittal.

The I-Team first reported in 2016 that Winner was a suspect in multiple rapes spanning many years. Now, Cook County investigators say he attacked at least nine women during a 16 year period.

Winner has denied all the charges and turned down a plea agreement offer from prosecutors.

Tuesday's decision was the first of four cases he faces.
Related Topics:
I-TeamrapetrialChicagoWest Loop
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