COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Evidence in four uncharged sexual attacks can be used against accused serial rapist Marc Winner at trial, a Cook County judge ruled Friday.
Winner, 46, faces formal charges in four separate sexual assault cases in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015. Three of his alleged victims were customers or employees at Winner's now-defunct West Loop tanning salon, which was shut down by the city last year.
Judge Carol M. Howard on Friday focused on the 2009 rape. In that case, Winner is accused of attacking a former employee inside his West Loop apartment after the pair ran into each other at a bar. Winner's DNA was a positive match to a rape kit, prosecutors said.
When that case goes to trial, Howard ruled Friday, prosecutors are allowed to mention four more alleged sexual attacks that prosecutors believe will establish a pattern of abuse, even though Winner was never charged in those instances.
In one of them, Assistant State's Attorney Mikki Miller said in court Friday, Winner raped a tanning salon customer in his apartment after giving the woman alcohol in 2006. That case now falls outside Illinois' statute of limitations for filing charges, which requires rape cases to be prosecuted within 10 years if a victim reports the rape within three years of the crime.
In another instance, Miller said, Winner is accused of raping a tanning salon customer in a suburban salon in 2001 after giving the woman several drinks at a nearby bar. Winner was arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual assault in that case, but later convicted of battery and sentenced to probation.
In an interview last year, the woman said, "I am just so sorry that I couldn't stop him. I told everyone what he was going to do. I knew this was going to happen. I prayed it didn't."
Miller on Friday presented nine separate alleged attacks to Howard. The judge ruled that five were either "too prejudicial" against Winner or didn't closely enough match the 2009 rape allegations to be relevant in a trial. Four were allowed as evidence.
Winner will next appear April 21 at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave., when Howard is expected to rule on a motion on whether to require Winner to provide his cellphone passcode to forensic investigators looking for incriminating texts and photos.
Prosecutors have had the phone since Winner's initial arrest, but are unable to open it, according to court testimony. Defense attorney Steven J. Weinberg on Friday argued that providing the passcode would violate Winner's 5th Amendment rights.
To learn more about the case against Winner, read: