MOORHEAD, Minn. — A personal trainer from Fargo has pleaded guilty to a sex crime in Clay County District Court that involved recruiting a woman for a fake medical study.
David Edward Sayler, 28, admitted Monday, Feb. 10, to having sexual contact with a client under the guise that he was conducting a government study on Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. He's set to be sentenced Monday, April 20, on a felony charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct after a presentence investigation and sex offender assessment are done.
The allegations date back to early 2018, after Sayler asked the woman to help him with a so-called medical study, according to court documents. He told her his grandfather had Parkinson’s disease, which is why he was helping with the study.
Though she initially declined, the woman agreed to participate in the study because she thought Sayler was a friend and that the study was legitimate, court documents said.
“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,” a criminal complaint said.
Sayler, who owns a business called Summit Fitness, admitted in court on Monday that he touched the woman’s “intimate parts” over her clothing at a gym in Moorhead for sexual arousal.
Moorhead investigators learned of the Clay County allegations after Fargo police investigated similar accusations that took place between Oct. 1, 2018, and Feb. 28, 2019, in Cass County in North Dakota. Prosecutors in Cass County alleged Sayler had the woman meet him at a hockey building in Fargo and asked her to do deadlifts, according to court documents. Meanwhile, he allegedly stood behind her and masturbated, court documents stated.
He faces a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in relation to those Cass County accusations.
He also was charged in Cass County with misdemeanor sexual assault involving a woman who initially declined to participate in the study. Sayler grabbed the woman’s waist and pulled her rear end into his midsection to demonstrate what would happen during the study, according to court documents.
The woman said she didn’t want to take part in the study, but in January 2019, Sayler allegedly confronted the woman in the laundry closet at Edge Fitness, where he worked as a personal trainer. He locked the door, massaged her butt for three minutes and said she could be arrested if she disclosed information to anyone about what happened, court documents alleged.