Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City chiropractor guilty of beating, sexually assaulting ex-girlfriend

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A local chiropractor was found guilty Wednesday of beating and raping a former girlfriend.

Justice Colleen Suche found Marlin Vandermeulen guilty of six of the nine charges he was facing, including sexual assault causing bodily harm and assault causing bodily harm.

Court was told Vandermeulen and the victim had been in a relationship for several years. The assaults occurred in the final months of the relationship, when Vandermeulin forced the victim to have sex with him.

There is a ban on publication of evidence that would identify the victim.

Vandermeulin operates Marlin Chiropractic on south Osborne Street.

A spokesman for the Manitoba Chiropractors' Association, which governs and regulates the industry in Manitoba, said the convictions will have to be reviewed.

Taras Luchak, executive director of the association, said a practitioner convicted of an indictable offence, as Vandermeulen was, could be considered guilty of professional misconduct.

Luchak said he could not comment on Vandermeulen's situation but added in general any similar situation would result in a formal investigation, as set out by the association's regulations.

Vandermeulen was originally arrested Jan. 29, 2010, after the victim had been attacked in a room at a downtown hotel. He was re-arrested Feb. 27, 2010, for breaching bail conditions and then charged with three other attacks on the victim in July and August 2009.

Suche said much of the evidence in the case was based on testimony from the victim and Vandermeulen, who denied the allegations and said the sex was at all times consensual. The victim said she didn't want to have sex with him but was afraid to refuse him.

Suche said the testimony of the victim was "straight forward and matter of fact," but Vandermeulen was "evasive and sometimes vague."

The victim said she only went to the police when she feared Vandermeulen was going to kill her.

"To an objective observer, tolerating the degrading and controlling attitude and physical violence by (Vandermeulen) makes no sense," Suche stated in a written ruling. "However, a complex emotional and psychological framework in intimate relationships involving violence is not uncommon."

A date for a sentencing hearing has not been set. The trial was held in late February.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2013 A9

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