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Massage therapist Mark Donlevy sentenced to 4 years for 6 sexual assaults

Star Phoenix logo Star Phoenix 5 days ago Bre McAdam, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
a man wearing a suit and tie:  Mark Donlevy enters Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Sept. 7, 2018 © Matt Olson / Saskatoon StarPhoen Mark Donlevy enters Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Sept. 7, 2018

Mark McMahon Donlevy knew “he had no consent” and “was taking advantage of his position” when he sexually assaulted six women, a Saskatoon judge said before sentencing the former registered massage therapist to four years in prison.

Donlevy will serve the four years consecutively to a three-year sentence he is currently serving after being convicted of sexual assault for date raping a women he met online in 2004.

This summer, Donlevy, 51, pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault stemming from when he was a massage therapy student in 2009 to when he was a licensed practitioner working out of his Main Street home in 2016.

Court heard he groped and digitally penetrated women while performing treatments. Many of the victims suffered from chronic pain and sought out Donlevy, who touted himself as a pain alleviation specialist.

During sentencing submissions last week in Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench, Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo argued for a global sentence of six and a half years. Defence lawyer Alan McIntyre argued for two to three years.

Justice Brian Scherman said the four-year sentence strikes a balance between Donlevy’s personal circumstances and the gravity of his offences.

“These were serious sexual offences,” he said.

In his sentencing explanation, Scherman noted that he considered the assaults with digital penetration “very close” to a major sexual assault, which usually involves “penile penetration” and carries a sentence of around three years. He told the victims the terminology is not used to trivialize their experience, but is necessary to classify the offences for sentencing purposes.

Scherman disagreed with McIntyre’s argument that Donlevy’s offences involved “fleeting touches.”

“(These were) deliberate steps taken to test the victims to see how far he might be able to go without resistance, all the while knowing he had no consent and that he was taking advantage of his position in the circumstances,” Sherman said.

He told court he based this determination on comments Donlevy made during and after the assaults.

Court heard he called one victim a “b***h” when she told him to stop, and that he told another woman to “relax” while he was rubbing her inner thigh. One woman said she slapped Donlevy after he digitally penetrated her, and that he responded by claiming he thought she was “into it.”

Scherman agreed with Fillo’s argument that Donlevy was in a position of trust and took advantage of vulnerable women desperate for pain relief. He also noted that Donlevy pleaded guilty and took responsibility for his offences despite his “plethora” of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder and sex addiction. 

“He is not, in this court, a victim,” Scherman said. “The victims (are) the ladies he assaulted.”

Before he was sentenced, Donlevy addressed the court: “I want to apologize from the deepest depths of my heart. It was never my intention or my desires to harm anyone. I am regretful, I am remorseful and I am truly sorry.”

He bent down in the prisoner’s box, burying his shaved head in his hands, after hearing his sentence.

“Based on his personal circumstances, this is a very significant sentence and it can prove quite devastating. All in all, I think it is good that this chapter is closed for everybody,” McIntyre said on the courthouse steps.

McIntyre, in his arguments, asked that Scherman recommend Donlevy serve his sentence at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, but Scherman declined to make the request.

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Two women came forward in 2016 and reported Donlevy had sexually assaulted them during separate appointments in 2013 and 2016. Ten more women contacted police after the charges were announced. Donlevy was charged with a total of 12 counts of sexual assault against 12 different women.

His six remaining charges were stayed following his sentencing. Fillo said the Crown had to consider what a month-long trial, where 12 victims would have to testify, would entail.

In their victim impact statements, the women described Donlevy as a “coward” who made them fear men in professional positions. Many women said they didn’t think anyone would believe them until they learned Donlevy had been charged with other assaults.

“They wanted to support each other and they had held this inside for years, not feeling that they will be believed if they are the lone person. Their courage has gone beyond what any of us would know,” Fillo said outside the courthouse.

“There may be many more coming forward; I’ve heard from other people that they may be reporting matters, so I urge anyone else that has something to come forward, they will be dealt with seriously.”

bmcadam@postmedia.com

twitter.com/breezybremc

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a man wearing a suit and tie:  Mark Donlevy enters Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Sept. 7, 2018 © Matt Olson / Saskatoon StarPhoen Mark Donlevy enters Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Sept. 7, 2018
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