A former mayor of South Portland, Maine, is among some 100 men accused of paying a Zumba instructor for sex in the vacation town of Kennebunk, according to a client list released by police on Tuesday.
James A. Soule, a former council member from a prominent Portland family who last served as mayor (a largely ceremonial post) in 2008, was named on Kennebunk Zumba instructor Alexis Wright’s list, reports the Portland Press Herald. Police say Wright ran a sex-for-pay operation out of the dance studio.
Among the other alleged clients, say reports, are an attorney, a forester and a real estate appraiser. Soule’s attorney, Peter DeTroy, said the charges are “much ado about so little.”
“It’s a question of a willing seller and a willing buyer,” DeTroy told the newspaper. “In many parts of the world, it’s totally legal, some states even.”
Residents of the town had been anxiously awaiting the release of the list since Wright, 29, was arrested earlier this month and pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy and other offenses.
Her alleged business partner Mark Strong, Sr., an insurance agent accused of helping Wright book clients, has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.
May Have Videotaped Clients
Police, who say Wright kept meticulous records that indicate she made more than $150,000 in 18 months, say she had more than 150 clients, with many videotaped without their knowledge.
In a statement, Strong claims he helped Wright with her “legitimate business” and that he will be “vindicated in a jury trial,” reports ABC News.
Two of the men on the list sought legal protection from having their names become public, saying doing so would cause “irreparable harm” to them, according to court documents.
On Monday, Superior Court Justice Thomas D. Warren disagreed, ruling that the names of people accused of crimes have to be made available to the public.
But because those men who might have been filmed during alleged sex acts could conceivably also become victims of a crime – invasion of privacy – the judge did not initially release their addresses. On Tuesday, he amended that order to include addresses, after several media reports of people being misidentified.
The Wrong Man
One of those men was Paul Main of Alfred, a retired spokesman and head of the detective division for the York County Sheriff’s Department, who was besieged by reporters Monday. It turns out there are about 20 men with his name in Maine, including one of Wright’s alleged clients.
This particular Paul Main spent Monday and Tuesday trying to clear himself. “I don’t have a problem with releasing names,” he told the Associated Press. ” I think it’s a wonderful thing, but I’ll be darned if it’s right to do it in a shoddy manner.”
The scandal is not expected to die down anytime soon. The Kennebunk Police Department plans to release the remaining names of clients every other week as they’re issued summonses on an activity log, meaning the disclosure of names could continue until the end of the year.