An executive at The Edge Fitness Clubs says he is “heartbroken” about an alleged incident outside one of his clubs in Fairfield, CT, that led to an arrest of a personal trainer who is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.
The personal trainer, Patrick Myers, also is under investigation for a similar incident while he was employed at the Jewish Community Center in nearby Bridgeport, CT. Myers is a convicted felon with a history of arrests and similar complaints dating back to 1988, according to local media reports.
Jim Sansone, the operations director at The Edge Fitness Clubs, tells Club Industry that Myers was relieved of his duties at the club the day after Fairfield police informed club management of the incident, which occurred earlier this month. He says the company has cooperated fully with Fairfield police.
“We’re just heartbroken that it happened to one of our members, to the girl and her family,” Sansone says, adding that the alleged victim is in her late teens. “We’ve run a great and clean business and been a huge member of our community and of our county here. We had one creep that snuck past us, and he certainly turned out to behave like a creep.”
According to local media reports, including a report in the Hartford Courant, Myers, who is in his mid-40s, allegedly touched the “intimate area” of the alleged victim near his truck in the parking lot of The Edge Fitness Club. This incident occurred after Myers had conducted his first personal training session with the teen, who also accuses Myers of making sexually explicit comments during the workout.
In addition to the assault charge, Myers also was charged with breach of peace. He is scheduled to appear in court June 6.
Myers worked at The Edge Fitness Club for three years and had a clean record, Sansone says. Myers had about 40 clients at the club and brought with him a strong client base who spoke highly of him from his time at the JCC, Sansone adds.
“He certainly was qualified and he was experienced as a trainer,” Sansone says, “and we hired him.”
The company did not do a background check on Myers upon his hiring, Sansone says. Since the incident occurred, the company has begun conducting background checks of trainers and continues to do background checks of babysitters for the child-care areas.
Myers worked at the JCC as a part-time personal trainer from January 2007 until mid-May 2009, according to Steve Wendell, president and CEO of the Jewish Center for Community Services of Eastern Fairfield County, CT.
The JCC is cooperating with Fairfield police on its investigation after police obtained a warrant for the center’s personnel records on Myers, Wendell tells Club Industry. A member of the Fairfield police’s detective bureau did not provide details of its current investigation.
Wendell says that no incidents involving Myers during his time as a personal trainer at the JCC were reported to law enforcement. However, Wendell adds that internal disciplinary action against Myers is noted in his personnel file, which confirms police reports in the local media. Although the JCC conducts background checks on personal trainers, Wendell says he is not aware if the JCC conducted a background check on Myers because he and the center’s current fitness director were not employed by the JCC at the time of Myers’ hiring.
“If somebody was going to ask me the question of whether I would rehire him or not—I wasn’t here at the time that he worked—based on the information I have, I would not rehire him,” Wendell says.
Fitness Edge LLC, the corporate name of The Edge Fitness Clubs, has seven clubs in operation in Connecticut and two more scheduled to open later this year, Sansone says. The company, which has been in operation for 25 years, was No. 50 on Club Industry’s Top 100 Clubs list last year with reported 2010 revenue of $19 million.
“We have a lot of friends in the business that are our peers around the country,” Sansone says. “The lesson to all clubs is every employee has to have a full background check. We’re very sorry this happened to one of our customers, and we will work and hope and pray that anything like this never happens again.”