Arkansas Fitness Trainer Convicted of Rape

FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- A fitness trainer was convicted Wednesday of rape and was sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison, according to the Northwest Arkansas Times.

A Washington County (AR) jury convicted James Solomon of raping a Bentonville, AR, woman at his now defunct Bodies for Christ Training Center in Springdale, AR, the newspaper reported.

Solomon, who also was convicted on charges of failing to appear during the two-day trial, was sentenced to 35 years for the rape conviction and an additional 15 years for the failure to appear conviction. Ten of those years will run consecutively, and five will run concurrently. Arkansas state law requires Solomon to serve at least 70 percent of his rape sentence, the newspaper reported.

Deputy Prosecutor Charles Duell told jurors that Solomon gained the trust of vulnerable women, lured them to his training centers after hours, promised to help them, demonstrated exercise and then began touching them inappropriately, according to the report. Solomon did not testify but said through his attorney that the sex was consensual.

Solomon also faces prison time for violating conditions of his probation on federal drug charges in the Eastern District of Oklahoma. He was found guilty at a revocation hearing, but has not been sentenced, the newspaper reported.

Solomon had been ordered to report to prison April 2 to begin serving a five-year sentence for violating his supervised release from a 1999 federal drug conspiracy conviction in eastern Oklahoma. He disappeared in February, leaving a suicide note behind. Solomon was declared a fugitive Feb. 8 and was arrested April 10 by marshals who tracked him to Los Angeles, where he had dyed his hair, grown a beard and was living under the name Daniel Miller, the newspaper reported. Solomon demonstrated he was guilty of rape because of these actions, Duell argued in court.

Solomon also is charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault in Crawford County, AR. He failed to appear for a trial on March 6, and a new trial date has not been set, according to the newspaper. Both accusers in these cases testified Tuesday that Solomon touched them inappropriately at his Bodies for Christ facility in Van Buren, AR.

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