Zumba instructor prostitution allegations rock Maine town of Kennebunk
(CBS/AP) KENNEBUNK, Maine - The upscale Maine town of Kennebunk is known for its beaches, old sea captains' mansions and the neighboring town of Kennebunkport, home to the Bush family summer compound.
But the talk of the town these days is the arrest of local fitness instructor Alexis Wright, who is charged with running a prostitution business out of her Zumba dance studio and filming the encounters.
Now the town is waiting for the revelation of which of their friends and neighbors are among her more than 100 alleged johns.
"There's still some of that puritanical New England left around," said Will Bradford, who owns a copy shop in town. "There are places in the world that would laugh at this."
Wright, 29, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Portland to 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges. The man police say was her business partner, 57-year-old Mark Strong Sr., pleaded not guilty to 59 counts of promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy. Both are free on personal recognizance.
Police have begun issuing summons to Wright's customers and will release the names in the weeks ahead. Townspeople say they've heard that lawyers, doctors, law enforcement officials, a television personality and other well-known people in town are included in a detailed clientele list police found.
A lot of people would rather not see the names made public because it will hurt families, children and careers, said Dan Breton, the owner of a convenience store and deli.
"I think most of my customers were shocked this was going on," Breton said. "But any time something like that happens, people get curious. It's almost like the newspapers are teasing us that there are prominent names on the list. But maybe it'll be nothing."
The superintendent of schools issued a memo to teachers and staff last week, instructing them to be on the lookout for students who have relatives on the list of names and may be teased or have trouble coping.
It wouldn't be surprising to hear of a prostitution operation with clients coming and going day and night in a big city, residents say - but not in Kennebunk, a tourist town with traditional white-steeple churches, tree-lined streets and quaint bed-and-breakfasts.
"Still, the fact that it's happening in Kennebunk shows we're not above it all," Greg Patterson said while getting a haircut at a downtown barber shop.
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