WARNING: This story contains graphic content.
The sentence is consecutive to his previous sexual assault conviction. He is currently serving three years after being convicted of raping a woman during a first date in 2004. Donlevy is appealing that conviction.
Justice Brian Scherman said Donlevy, 51, was in a position of trust while his victims were vulnerable and seeking relief from pain.
Scherman dismissed defence lawyer Alan McIntyre’s argument that most of Donlevy’s actions were simply “fleeting touches or boundary violations.”
“Mr. Donlevy suffers from a multitude of illness — both physical and mental. But he is not, in this court, a victim,” Scherman said.
“The victims are those ladies he assaulted.”
He said Donlevy’s actions where an attempt to intimidate the women in order to suppress objection, and “were deliberate steps taken in pursuit of sexual gratification” or a way to “test” how far he could go.
The former massage therapist also knew he didn’t have consent and was capable of physical and psychological intimidation, according to the judge.
Donlevy pleaded guilty earlier this year to six counts of sexual assault arising from massage therapy appointments between 2009 and 2016. Six other counts were stayed upon sentencing’s completion.
On multiple occasions, women were partially dressed on a massage table when Donlevy touched their breasts, genitals or both. The vast majority of his offences happened in the basement of his home-based massage business.
Donlevy’s two instances of using his finger to penetrate women were “close,” but “fell short” of a major sexual assault, Scherman stated. Major sexual assaults typically involve penile penetration and tougher sentences.
The judge said the term “major” is not meant to trivialize women’s experiences, but rather, categorize the offences for sentencing.
“No one is suggesting that the sexual assault of you is minor and not significant.”
Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo thanked Donlevy’s victims for being courageous and reporting the man’s crimes to police.
“A number of them came forward as they heard about others. They wanted to support each other, and they had held this inside for years,” Fillo told reporters.
She said it wouldn’t be appropriate to explain fully why the Crown committed to staying six charges as Donlevy pleaded guilty to the other six. The Crown had to consider whether the trauma of testifying during a month-long jury trial would be worth it, she said.
There may be “many more coming forward” to file criminal complaints against Donlevy, according to Fillo.
During sentencing arguments on Nov. 27, McIntyre stated Donlevy is living with a “constellation” of medical issues and should receive a sentence between two and three years in prison.
The Crown sought a six-and-a-half-year sentence, a term the defence called “excessive.”
Scherman said four years is the appropriate sentence given Donlevy’s age, health and his existing sentence.
Donlevy apologized to his victims prior to sentencing.
“I’d like to apologize from the deepest depths of my heart to the people I’ve hurt directly and indirectly. It was never my intention or my desire to harm anyone,” Donlevy said.
“I am regretful. I am remorseful and I’m truly sorry.”
McIntyre said he will need time to review the judge’s comments with Donlevy before deciding what do going forward. He has one month to appeal the decision.