The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

October 12, 2012

Lawyer fighting names release in Zumba prostitution case

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Last-minute legal wrangling made it unclear Friday whether curious residents would find out who in this seaside town stands accused of giving business to a fitness instructor charged with running a prostitution operation out of her Zumba studio and a small office.

A state judge declined to stop the release of the names but a lawyer was filing an appeal of that decision Friday.

Alexis Wright, a 29-year-old fitness instructor from Wells, has pleaded not guilty to prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges for allegedly accepting money for sex and secretly videotaping her encounters. Her business partner also has pleaded not guilty.

Searches of Wright’s studio and office turned up video recordings of sexual acts, billing information and meticulous records about clients, according to court documents.

Based on that information, Kennebunk police have been begun issuing summonses to Wright’s johns on misdemeanor charges of engaging a prostitute. The first names were to be released Friday, but the police department was awaiting word from the courts before proceeding, said Lt. Anthony Burpee.

Lawyer Stephen Schwartz was appealing a decision by a District judge in Biddeford, who declined Thursday night to intervene and stop the release of identities.

He also was asking permission to take the case to Superior Court in Portland, where a judge was handling the case against Wright and business partner, Mark Strong Sr., a 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator from Thomaston, who has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.

“We believe very strongly that their names ought not be released. The mere releasing of their names will have devastating consequences in a case in which the government, we believe, will have great difficulty proving,” Schwartz said.

The existence of the list of johns has fueled speculation about who is on it. Residents have said they’ve heard it could include lawyers, law enforcement officers and some well-known names.

Strong’s attorney, Dan Lilley, has said he has a list of or more than 150 people who were alleged customers, but that he wouldn’t release the names unless they’re called as witnesses if the case goes to trial.

Allison Ackley, who participated in Wright’s Zumba class, said she had no idea that Wright was allegedly leading a double life.

“She was very professional. She was an amazing dancer and she held a good class so I liked going. I thought she was a little, not risque but a little flirtatious, with a couple of the male participants in the class. But it’s Zumba. You’re there to have fun. I didn’t think anything of it.”

The case has rocked this small town, which is well-known for its ocean beaches, old sea captains’ mansions and the neighboring town of Kennebunkport, home to the Bush family’s Walker’s Point summer compound.

“It’ll be interesting to see who’s on that list because we’re hearing that there are selectmen, there are policemen, that there are firemen — people that we’re going to know in town,” said local resident Elaine Nicholson. “So everyone is, like, waiting with bated breath.”

1
Text Only
National and world
  • Immigration Overload web.jpg House OKs bill to address border crisis

    The spending bill passed 223-189 late Friday, with only four Republicans voting “no” and one Democrat voting “yes.” The measure ending Obama’s deportation relief program passed 216-192, with 11 Republican “no” votes and four Democrats crossing party lines to vote in favor.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana County Fair web.jpg Denver fair’s bong, edible contests celebrate pot

    A speed joint-rolling contest uses oregano, not pot. The only real stuff allowed at the event? Doritos, to be used in the munchie eating contest.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • CDC Ebola web.jpg U.S. warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    “The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who announced the travel warning.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Gaza truce comes after days of pushing for a deal

    Finally, less than an hour after all sides signed off on the precise and technical wording for a 72-hour truce, Kerry issued a statement and called a 3:30 a.m. Friday press conference to seal the deal before any party could back out.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taiwan web.jpg Gas explosions kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwan

    The fires were believed caused by a leak of propene, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the source of the gas was not immediately clear, officials said.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Congress web.jpg Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

    House Speaker John Boehner accused Democrats of pursuing a “nutso scheme” of trying to seize on the border crisis to try and grant a path to citizenship to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Illinois Unemployment_Hass.jpg As U.S. job market strengthens, many don't feel it

    "If the economy is getting better, I'm not sure for whom. It certainly hasn't trickled down to me." — Douglas Hunter, who earned $14 an hour before the Great Recession and now works three days a week for $9.25 an hour, mopping floors and fixing fryers at McDonald's.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • House Obama Lawsuit.jpg Republican-led House approves lawsuit against President Obama

    Just a day before lawmakers were to begin a five-week summer recess, debate over the proposed lawsuit underscored the harshly partisan tone that has dominated the current Congress almost from its start in January 2013.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Russia Putin web.jpg Sanctions could damage Russia

    The sanctions go further than earlier penalties — which had largely targeted individuals — by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military industries. The EU also put its capital markets off-limits to Russian state-owned banks.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Libya web.jpg Thousands flee to Tunisia to escape Libya fighting

    Many diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador, have pulled out of the country. With the interim government paralyzed, the fighting threatens the planned opening session of the newly elected parliament on Aug. 4.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads