SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) — The Sarasota Police Department has arrested the owner and coach of the Sarasota Fitness Club / Fight Club for allegedly molesting at least two young girls he was instructing.
Police say 53-year-old Akram Sleit of Sarasota inappropriately touched a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl on multiple occasions while they were taking boxing lessons at the Sarasota Fitness Club / Fight Club The fitness studio is located at 2211 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, and is owned by Sleit. Police say Sleit goes by “Alan” at the club.
One victim told detectives that Sleit touched her inappropriately at least 10 times while taking measurements at the club. Both victims also told detectives that they believe there could be other victims at the club. Detectives are encouraging anyone with information to call Detective Megan Buck at 941-954-7067.
53 year old Akram “Alan” Sleit appeared before for a judge for the first time Thursday, after being charged with 2 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation.
Investigators claim it stemmed from him inappropriately touching two girls he was instructing at the Sarasota Fight and Fitness club.
Prosecutors asked that he be denied bond. The prosecuting attorney told the judge “This defendant has been abusing his position of authority with these children, these children have been afraid to fight back, afraid to speak up, and even tell their parents.”
But detectives did become aware of the allegations against Sleit, the owner and a coach at the club, after one of the young victims told her parents.
Genevieve Judge with the Sarasota Police department said, “One of the mothers of one of the victims tripped us off to let us know that this was happening to her daughter, we went an interviewed her daughter and that led to our second victim who also at the fight club with her.”
The two victims, a 12 and 15 year told detectives, Sleit would touch them while he was measuring them in his office at the club, and they claim, it wasn’t a one time accident.
“Both of these girls have told us it was a consistent pattern, on one occasion the victims told us it happened to her 10 different times,” added Judge. The two girls had been attending classes at the Sarasota club for the past six months. And they told investigators, they believe there are other young victims.
“If those victims are watching this and they are scared or they have been told not to say anything we are really encouraging them and hope that they come forward, because they can continue to help us charge this man for everything that he has done,” said the Sarasota police spokesperson.
The judge did deny bond for Sleit who will remain behind bars in the Sarasota jail.
In the meantime, Sarasota police want to hear hear from any other possible victims as soon as possible.