​Zumba Instructor Scandal Could Leave Townspeople Torn

Author: Kara GilmourBy:
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October 16, 2012

The Zumba instructor, who is part of a prostitution scandal, is about to release her client list in a small town in Maine. The scandal could ruin townspeople and families because of one local Zumba fitness instructor who’s been charged with running a prostitution ring. In addition, all of those secret encounters were videotaped secretly, and that’s causing a lot of anxiety among residents with the scandal.

This town is on the edge of its seat and waiting for who paid Alexis Wright for sex in her Zumba business. It’s a small town that’s waiting to find out which neighbors and friends are listed as one of the 100 alleged men who was videotaped.

“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, was dressed conservatively in a jacket, blouse and slacks as she pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Portland to 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her fitness studio and a nearby one-room office she rented. 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.

Prosecutors haven’t detailed why Wright would have been videotaping her encounters. But they gathered more than 100 hours of video and nearly 14,000 screen shots from seized computers, Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan said.

“The state’s in over its head. This case isn’t ready for prosecution,” Daniel Lilly, Strong’s lawyer, said at the hearing.

Wright’s lawyer, Sarah Churchill, has declined to comment, and the defendants did not speak as they left the hearing. Wright, who lives in the nearby community of Wells and is the single mother of a young son, and Strong 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.

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