WARNING: This story contains graphic content.
Former massage therapist Mark Donlevy’s sex addiction emerged as a coping mechanism for war-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and played a role in six sexual assaults, according to his lawyer.
During sentencing arguments Wednesday, defence lawyer Alan McIntyre stated the 51-year-old is living with a “constellation” of medical issues and should receive a sentence between two and three years in prison. The Crown is seeking a six-and-a-half-year sentence, a term the defence called “excessive.”
Donlevy has pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual assault arising from massage therapy appointments spanning 2009-16. On multiple occasions, women were partially dressed on a massage table when Donlevy touched their breasts, genitals or both.
Justice Brian Scherman’s sentencing decision is expected Monday at Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
McIntyre characterized his client as “a man of action” — a sniper and soldier who served eight months in Somalia with the Canadian Armed Forces. Donlevy’s military service in 1992 is the “root cause” of his PTSD, McIntyre said.
The defence said he also took the anti-malaria drug mefloquine, which has been linked to negative neurological and psychological effects on other Canadian war veterans.
Donlevy’s treating psychologist, D’Arcy Helmer, testified Donlevy has a “complicated case, psychiatrically,” though he didn’t draw a direct link between mefloquine and Donlevy’s crimes.
The former massage therapist has also been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and insomnia among other conditions.
McIntyre indicated his client is remorseful and plans to donate $6,000 to the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre — $1,000 for each victim.
He also worked as a firefighter and CPR instructor. The vast majority of his offences happened in the basement of his home-based massage business.
In September, Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo stated Donlevy’s position of trust and the vulnerability of his victims warrant a tougher sentence.
During victim impact statements, women expressed feelings of shame and embarrassment. Many of them grappled with the fear of not being believed if they were to come forward.
The Crown provided details of each of the assaults, including instances where Donlevy told a woman “don’t be a b—-“ and another “I thought you were into this” after she slapped him.
After some assaults, Donlevy would contact victims via social media, seeking another appointment.
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.