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Life Time Faces Lawsuits in Sexual Assault Case

Life Time Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, is expected to file answers to lawsuits filed by the families of three girls who allegedly were sexually assaulted in a Memphis-area club by a former employee.

The alleged assaults took place last summer in the child care center at a Life Time club in Collierville, TN. Anthony Webster, a former Life Time employee in the child care center, was arrested on July 14, 2011, and was arrested again the following month on additional charges of aggravated sexual battery. Webster was immediately suspended upon an investigation and was fired after his first arrest. The ages of the alleged victims were 6, 8 and 9.

In June, three lawsuits were filed in the Circuit Court of Tennessee, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Each of the lawsuits seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages from Webster, Life Time Fitness and various corporations and entities associated with the company, the newspaper reported. Life Time has until Aug. 1 to file its answers.

Karen Jayne Greenwood, senior public relations manager for Life Time Fitness, could not comment on the specifics of the case, citing pending litigation. However, Greenwood did say that the company plans to “vigorously defend” itself.

“As to the allegations, we find them to be startling and, as you should expect, the matter has been taken very seriously among the leadership at both our Collierville club and corporate offices,” Greenwood wrote in an email. “Upon being alerted to these allegations, we immediately focused on supporting the Collierville authorities with their investigation. At the same time, we remain confident in our long-held commitment and track record of providing members with safe, fun, family-oriented experiences and environments, not the least of which involves our child centers and kids activities, programs and services.”

As of last week, there were no new developments related to the lawsuits, according to Greenwood. An attorney representing one of the girls could not be reached for comment.

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