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‘Presence of a coward’: Crown seeks 6.5 years for Mark Donlevy sexual assaults

Click to play video '‘Presence of a coward’: Crown seeks 6.5 years for Mark Donlevy sexual assaults' ‘Presence of a coward’: Crown seeks 6.5 years for Mark Donlevy sexual assaults
WARNING: The video above contains graphic content. Mark Donlevy's victims spoke directly to the sex offender in a Saskatoon courtroom. – Sep 30, 2019

WARNING: This story contains graphic content.

Multiple women sexually assaulted by Mark Donlevy stood in a Saskatoon courtroom on Monday to confront the former massage therapist and sex offender.

One of them described keeping her attack a “horrible secret” for 10 years because of shame, embarrassment and fear. She dreaded coming forward and putting her family through a “stressful ordeal with no guarantee of justice.”

READ MORE: Former massage therapist Mark Donlevy pleads guilty to sexual assault charges

During her victim impact statement in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench, she acknowledged she was not to blame for Donlevy’s actions.

“The only reason I was assaulted was because I was in the presence of a coward,” she said.

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Donlevy, 50, pleaded guilty to six of 12 counts of sexual assault-related to massage therapy appointments — the vast majority of which happened in the basement of his home-based business in Saskatoon.

WATCH BELOW: Coverage of the Mark Conlevy sexual assault trial

The other six counts are expected to be stayed upon sentencing’s completion.

The crimes he pleaded guilty to span 2009 to 2016 and each count represents a different woman sexually assaulted. Recurring themes included Donlevy having women partially dressed on a massage table, and then touching their breasts, genitals or both.

After committing his crimes, Donlevy would often follow up with his victims over messenger applications to seek another appointment.

READ MORE: Mark Donlevy developed PTSD years before sexual assault conviction: lawyer

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Donlevy’s crimes warrant a six-and-a-half-year sentence, according to Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo. The most significant aggravating factor was Donlevy’s position as a person of trust — he was a firefighter, military veteran and CPR instructor.

Multiple victims said that alone, they felt they wouldn’t be taken seriously. Many of them said they only filed complaints with Saskatoon police after seeing media reports on Donlevy’s charges.

“These women are courageous beyond anything that I think we have seen,” Fillo said.

Justice Brian Scherman responded: “courage is action in the face of fear.”

Fillo provided court with details of each of the sexual assaults, including an instance where Donlevy told a woman “don’t be a b—-“ and “don’t be so sensitive” after he forced her hand on his penis and grabbed her crotch.

In another case, Donlevy put his fingers inside a woman’s vagina. After she slapped him, court heard how Donlevy said, “I thought you were into this.”

“Haha I’m groping your breasts,” he said to another woman.

READ MORE: Saskatoon massage therapist Mark Donlevy sentenced to 3 years for sexual assault

Donlevy is currently serving a three-year sentence after he was convicted of raping a woman during a first date in 2004. He is appealing the conviction.

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Fillo said her six and a half year recommended sentence would follow the conclusion of Donlevy’s previous sentence.

Defence lawyer Alan McIntyre plans to introduce evidence from Donlevy’s psychologist as sentencing continues later this year. The next court date is Nov. 25.