Marc Winner, former West Loop tanning salon owner, sentenced to 13 years in rape case

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A former West Loop tanning salon owner convicted in the first of several rape cases against him has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. (WLS)

A former West Loop tanning salon owner convicted in the first of several rape cases against him has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Marc Winner, 47, was convicted of criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse in the 2009 attack on a former tanning salon employee. He faced up to 18 years in prison.

There were audible gasps when the sentence was handed down. Winner put his head in his hands and cried when the sentence was read.

"You're putting an innocent man in jail," he told Judge Carol Howard.

The sentencing hearing began around 3 p.m. and featured emotional statements, including from three women who have accused Winner of rape, including the victim in this case. Known as J.B. during the trial, afterward she emerged from anonymity and asked to be identified.

"I absolutely knew one day we would get justice. I knew it. I always knew it," Justine Bour said after the sentencing.

In the trial Bour testified that in July of 2009, Winner gave her alcohol and cocaine and then sexually assaulted her at his West Loop condo. At one point she said she called her sister to tell her Winner was going to rape her.

"Having the opportunity to read the victim impact statement was very relieving and I thought it would be much more difficult, but once you get in there and you're reading it to him, it's-I almost wished it were longer. It was really a great thing to be able to read it in court," Bour said.

At the sentencing hearing, Bour spoke of the night of the assault.

"I'll never forget sobbing as you were raping me and hearing you tell me to shut up. I'll never forget running as fast as I could barefoot down Madison Street with you in pursuit," she told the court.

ABC7 was allowed to record audio of Tuesday's hearing, which began with testimony from two other accusers: Lesley Barton, who said Winner drugged and raped her in 2001 and another woman identified only by her initials "M.T."

"Marc didn't care when I told him no. Fighting him to let me go, he raped me anyway," M.T. said.

Winner later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery Barton's case.

"Finally I know and Justine knows that he's never going to hurt another living soul again," Barton said.

Winner had been facing three other rape cases, but as part of an agreement to allow the victim impact statements from that accuser to be read, prosecutors dropped two of those cases. Winner now faces one pending rape trial, and could receive additional prison time.

Tuesday's sentencing came more than two years after the I-Team first reported that Winner was being investigated for multiple rapes involving as many as nine women over 17 years.

VICTIM RECALLS HARROWING DETAILS OF ATTACK DURING BENCH TRIAL

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 another 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.
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