Gym owner gets 40-year term for raping teen-ager he dated

Glen Burnie businessman convicted second time

maximum sentence set

August 05, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge sentenced the owner of a Glen Burnie gym yesterday to 40 years in prison for raping a teen-ager on a date.

It was Steven Blair Jackson's second conviction for date rape in five years.

Judge Michael E. Loney ordered Jackson, 35, of the 7900 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., owner of Fitness Solutions, to serve the maximum sentence possible after he completed the 18-year sentence he recently got for violating probation in a Baltimore County case.

Assistant state's attorney Kathleen E. Rogers said she was "thrilled" by the sentence. She said Jackson presented a "scary picture" of a seemingly respectable person who was a societal menace with a history of preying on women.

State guidelines recommended a sentence between 18 and 20 years.

Jackson's attorneys immediately filed a notice to appeal their client's conviction on two counts of second-degree rape and two counts of second-degree assault.

In court, Jackson offered neither an apology nor an excuse. He told the judge he planned to wed another woman, his pregnant girlfriend, and wanted to be able to earn a living to support them. The woman was not in the courtroom.

Defense lawyer John M. Hassett said he told his client not to say much in court.

"I don't think he is without remorse, but I don't think he believes this was rape," said Rick Glushakow, Jackson's other attorney.

During the jury trial in May, Jackson's defense was that the woman took her clothes off and consented to the sexual acts.

Jackson was convicted in 1994 of second-degree rape of a woman on a date in Baltimore County. He was sentenced to 20 years, with all but four suspended. Judge Lawrence R. Daniels recently imposed 18 years on a probation violation in that case.

In 1990, Jackson received probation for assaulting a woman he was romantically involved with. She alleged in part that he was ripping her clothes off. In 1991, a woman who claimed Jackson was her former boyfriend told police he sexually assaulted her, but she refused to pursue the case.

Hassett told Loney that his client attended a high school in Wisconsin for students with severe learning disabilities and endured a troubled childhood.

"The guy's father was real abusive," Hassett said later. "If you look at a guy like this, the statistics tell you these are guys who went through abusive childhoods."

Hassett, who was not Jackson's lawyer for the trial, said some aspects of the case troubled him -- a date between a man of 34 and a woman of 19, and "I know there was drinking going on."

Jackson and the woman had a date in June 1998 to go horseback riding. She told jurors they rode to a bar in Severna Park, where she had two beers and one shot of alcohol, but that she remembered little after leaving on horseback.

She said she awoke in a trailer to discover Jackson having sex with her. She said he then drove her, naked, to the gym and sexually assaulted her again.

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