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Zumba Prostitution Scandal: Maine police release the names of 21 suspected clients

Alexis Wright, 29, turns towards her attorney Sarah Churchill, left, during her arraignment Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 in Portland, Maine on 109 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her Kennebunk fitness studio and office. Wright pleaded not guilty on charges she ran a prostitution business out of her Kennebunk Zumba studio and secretly filmed her encounters. (AP Photo/Joel Page) Joel Page

Alexis Wright towards her attorney during her arraignment on Oct. 9, 2012 in Portland, Maine
AP Photo/Joel Page

(CBS/AP) KENNEBUNK, Maine - Police released the first batch of names of the men accused of paying a Zumba instructor for sex at her dance studio in the small New England town of Kennebunk.

PICTURES: Zumba instructor accused of prostitution

Police said 21 men were issued summons for engaging in prostitution with 29-year-old Alexis Wright, who is charged with turning her dance studio into a brothel in the seaside community and secretly videotaping her encounters.

Wright pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges. Her business partner, 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator Mark Strong Sr., has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.

Police said more than 150 people are suspected of being clients and many of them were videotaped without their knowledge.

Local residents heard the list could include lawyers, law enforcement officers and well-known people. A judge ordered the release of names without ages or addresses, so it was not immediately clear their occupations and roles in the community, if any.

Residents were anxiously awaiting the release of names since Wright was charged this month with engaging in prostitution in her dance studio and in an office she rented across the street. Police said she kept meticulous records suggesting the sex acts generated $150,000 over 18 months.

The list of names was delayed Friday by legal action by an attorney representing two of the people accused of being johns. The lawyer, Stephen Schwartz, said releasing the names will ruin people's lives, even if they're acquitted of the misdemeanor charges against them.

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren denied a motion Monday seeking to block disclosure of the names. But he ordered that addresses should be withheld for those people who might have been victims of invasion of privacy when their acts were recorded.

Kim Ackley, a local real estate agent, said that disclosure of the names will cause temporary pain for families but it's only fair because others who are charged with embarrassing crimes don't get breaks.

"What's fair for one has to be fair for the other," said Ackley, who believes she knows several people on the list. "The door can't swing just one way."

  • Crimesider Staff

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