MOORHEAD — A Fargo personal trainer accused of sex crimes against women who he allegedly recruited for so-called medical studies is facing a new felony charge in Minnesota.
David Edward Sayler, who owns Summit Fitness, was charged Wednesday, June 26, in Clay County District Court with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charge is defined as making sexual contact by deception or false representation that the contact is for a bona fide medical purpose.
Similar charges alleging that 27-year-old Sayler recruited women for fake medical studies were filed last week in Cass County District Court. Prosecutors accused Sayler of grinding against a woman’s rear end and masturbating in front of another woman at gyms in Fargo. He faces misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and disorderly conduct in Cass County.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Sayler referred questions to his attorney, Cash Aaland, who declined to comment. Aaland said his law partner, Daniel Hopper, will handle the Clay County case.
In April, Moorhead Police Sgt. Toby Krone received a case file from Fargo police regarding a sexual assault investigation into Sayler that could have possibly occurred in Moorhead, according to court documents.
Krone met with a victim who said Sayler asked her to help him with a medical study for Parkinson’s disease. Sayler told the victim “that his grandfather had Parkinson's so he was helping with the study,” court documents stated.
The victim initially declined, but Sayler kept asking so she agreed to participate in the study because she thought Sayler was a friend and that the study was legitimate, court documents stated.
Sometime in January or February 2018, Sayler had the victim stand in front of him and press her buttocks against his groin, and he would hold onto her hips and breathe heavy, according to court documents.
Over the course of the next few months, Sayler asked her to help him with the study by straddling his groin and then he would put his hands on her buttocks, court documents stated.
The victim said this happened at a gym in Moorhead and at one in Fargo, court documents stated. It's unclear whether the victim in the Clay County case is an additional victim or whether she's one of the same victims from the Cass County case.
“It was later confirmed that there was no such medical study and (Sayler) has been doing this to other women claiming he was doing studies for various other medical issues,” court documents stated.
Sayler has been summoned to appear in Clay County District Court on July 30. His arraignment in Cass County is set for July 12.