Woman details alleged 2009 rape by former West Loop tanning salon owner

- Witness testimony in the criminal trial of Marc Winner — described by authorities as a serial rapist who preyed on former employees and customers over nearly two decades — began Monday with one of Winner’s alleged victims detailing a July 2009 attack in his West Loop apartment, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The woman, a former employee of Winner’s whom the Sun-Times is not identifying, said a night of dinner and drinks with old friends quickly turned into a nightmare when Winner showed up uninvited and, ultimately, raped her.

“I was bawling and begging him to stop,” she recalled.

The woman, originally from the Chicago area, had worked for Winner while attending college in the city. After graduating, she moved to California but returned to the area in the summer of 2009.

She said that, while she was living in California, Winner would call her from time to time. The night of the alleged attack, she said, Winner called her and she mentioned she was out in the West Loop, near the now-closed Soleil tanning salon Winner owned. He showed up to the restaurant around 10 p.m.

About an hour later, the victim and a friend left the restaurant and Winner followed them out to the street, suggesting they come see upgrades he had made to the salon. After they agreed and started walking, the victim’s friend said she needed to use the bathroom. Winner offered the one in his apartment, the victim said.

Once there, Winner took out a bag of cocaine and offered some to the two women. The victim said she had “a very small amount” in addition to the three glasses of wine she had over the course of the evening. After she had the cocaine, the victim’s friend left the apartment and she saw Winner close and “deadbolt” the door once she was out.

The victim was sitting on the couch and looking at her phone when she heard the door close, she said. When she looked to the door and saw Winner, “his expression was completely different,” she said.

“I immediately knew I was in trouble,” she said.

She said that Winner took her phone away several times over the next few hours, giving it back to her briefly so she could contact her friend who had left the apartment. She tried calling her a few times, but got no answer. She said she suggested they go to see the salon, hoping that she could use the landline at the front desk.

While in a tanning bed room by herself, the victim called her younger sister, she said. She told her where she was and to call 911. Shortly after, Winner grabbed the phone again, saw the victim’s sister was called and said to her “Now you’re never getting your phone back,” the victim testified.

With her phone in one hand and her arm in the other, Winner led her to his apartment near the salon and forced himself on her. All the while, the victim’s sister and step-father — who also testified Monday were frantically trying to call her, she said.

Winner pinned her face-up on his bed, pulled her dress over her head and took off her underwear and his pants, she said. He asked her if she was menstruating at the time, the victim said. She was and was using a tampon.

“He said that I was disgusting and he whipped it out,” the victim said, referring to the tampon as she made a yanking arm gesture. “He then started to rape me without a condom on.”

She told Winner that she had chlamydia “because I wanted him to stop raping me,” she said. He called her “a disgusting whore” before putting a condom on and continuing, she said.

The attack lasted about 10 minutes, she estimated. When he was finished, she gathered some of her belongings and ran out barefoot to a Dominick’s grocery store about two blocks away, where an employee called police.

During cross-examination, Winner’s attorney, Steven Weinberg, focused on the victim’s admitted cocaine use, asking how much, if at all, it altered her mood. He also noted several opportunities she had to run away, even though Winner had her cellphone.

Throughout most of the testimony, Winner looked forward expressionless. At one point, one of his attorneys mentioned a photo that he had taken with the victim. He looked at her with a slight grin.

Winner is charged in three other pending sexual assault cases.

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