'I feared he was going to rape me,' ex-tan salon employee testifies

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During day two of his trial on rape charges, Marc Winner's accuser was on the witness stand. The I-Team was in Cook County Criminal Court. (WLS)

During an afternoon of gripping testimony in the first criminal trial of suspected serial rapist Marc Winner, the alleged victim described a horrifying encounter with her former boss.

Winner, ex-owner of a West Loop tanning salon, is accused of raping his former employee identified at trial only by her initials J.B. The attack allegedly took place in the early morning hours of July 17, 2009.

Authorities have said Winner is suspected of raping at least nine women during a several-year period. Monday afternoon was the first time in court one of the women he is accused of attacking told the graphic details of what happened-and how she tried to fight him off.

The ABC7 I-Team first exposed a wide police investigation of Winner's conduct in 2016. We are being allowed to record audio of these court proceedings-beginning today with the alleged victim identified as J.B.

"I feared he was going to rape me," J.B. told Judge Carol Howard.

"I could feel my knees buckling," the alleged victim said.

On day two of Winner's bench trial in Cook County Criminal Court, J.B. said she had been out with girlfriends that night when Winner, surprisingly, met up with her.

She described ending up back at the tanning salon where she had been his employee two years earlier and at his nearby apartment -- Winner allegedly giving her cocaine -- and then she said he got physical.

"I immediately knew I was in trouble...I was in complete panic mode," she said. J.B. testified that she tried calling 911 and a sibling.

"I called my sister...I said I'm at Soleil, he's going to rape me, call 9-1-1..." she testified.

A short time later she said Winner did rape her at his nearby condo.

"I'm saying stop don't do this. What are you doing? No! I'm just screaming...he pushed me back onto his bed..." she testified.

In cross-examination, Winner's attorney tried to paint J.B. as a cocaine-addled, willing participant.

"You had an opportunity, when you were in public, to run, right?" said Winner's attorney Steven Weinberg.

J.B. replied from the witness stand that she "did not have a safe opportunity to flee."

"Because you're perception was off from cocaine, right?" Weinberg asked.

J.B.: "No, absolutely not."

Testimony continued into early Monday evening, with the trial expected to run most of this week.

Winner is free on bond and according to his attorney a respectable member of the community. His defense will be that what happened on that summer day in 2009 wasn't rape; rather it was an evening-under-the-influence that resulted in misunderstood romance.
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I-TeamtrialrapeChicagoWest Loop
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