June 20, 2018
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Another list of alleged johns in Kennebunk prostitution case expected Friday

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
A couple crosses Main Street in downtown Kennebunk in October.
By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Another list of names of men charged with paying for sex in Kennebunk is expected to be released Friday afternoon by the town police department, 10 days after the first 21 men implicated as johns in the high-profile scandal became fully public.

The case, in which police accuse Thomaston businessman Mark Strong and fitness instructor Alexis Wright of running a prostitution business out of Wright’s Kennebunk Zumba studio, has attracted national media attention.

Among the previous batch of 21 names of men charged with engaging a prostitute were former South Portland Mayor James Soule, Kennebunk High School hockey coach Donald Hill, and local lawyer Jens Bergens. Hill was the first to publicly lose his job in connection wtih the allegation, resigning from his coaching position two days after the first list was released on Oct. 15.

According to prosecutors, Wright kept meticulous records including a list of approximately 150 clients from throughoutr the state, including some well-known public figures in southern Maine. Wright also allegedly videotaped her encounters with the johns, prosecutors have said.

Both Wright and Strong have pleaded not guilty to a slate of charges stemming from the alleged operation.

Kennebunk police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee has said investigators are combing through Wright’s documents and, as they compile evidence to do so, incrementally charging clients with engaging a prostitute.

The names released Friday by police will represent the men charged during the past two weeks. The department has indicated it would release biweekly lists of individuals arrested or issued summonses, regardless of the charges, and police plan to maintain that schedule through the prostitution case investigation.

The previous list of men charged with engaging a prostitution was delayed, issued on the Monday following the scheduled Friday, Oct. 12, release day because of a motion filed in court by attorney Stephen Schwartz, representing two people on the alleged johns list, to keep the names from public dissemination.

Schwartz argued that, because of the alleged videotaping activity, the accused johns were also victims of the crime of invasion of privacy, and as victims, they should not be named publicly.

Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren initially ruled that the names of the charged johns should be released, but without home addresses in an effort to provide the men with a layer of confidentiality. That ruling caused police to release just the first and last names of the men charged as clients — initially without middle initials, ages or addresses — creating some public confusion around men who were not charged, but have the same first and last names as the men who were.

Warren reversed his decision the following day, on Oct. 16, and allowed all identifiable information to be released, and Kennebunk police updated their published list to include middle initials, ages and addresses.

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