Kennebunk Zumba instructor to be sentenced Friday in prostitution case

Alexis Wright
Rich Beauchesne | REUTERS
Alexis Wright
Posted May 29, 2013, at 10:09 a.m.
Last modified May 29, 2013, at 7:12 p.m.

ALFRED, Maine — Alexis Wright, the Kennebunk fitness instructor who garnered worldwide notoriety for doubling as a prostitute in the quiet seaside town, will be sentenced Friday.

If Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills agrees to the sentence recommended by prosecutors as part of a plea deal reached two months ago, Wright, 30, will be sent to jail for 10 months and pay $58,000 in fines and restitution.

The sentencing is scheduled to take place at the York County courthouse in Alfred.

In a March 29 plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop 86 of the 106 counts against Wright in exchange for a plea of guilty to 20 toned-down misdemeanor charges.

Wright, whose now-famous Zumba studio has reopened under new ownership, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of engaging in prostitution, one count of promotion of prostitution, one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution and two counts each of theft by deception and state income tax evasion.

Among the charges dropped by prosecutors from the York County district attorney’s office and the state attorney general’s office were dozens of counts of invasion of privacy and welfare fraud.

Wright’s guilty plea came exactly a week after Mills sentenced Thomaston insurance broker Mark Strong Sr. to 20 days in jail and ordered him to pay $3,000 in fines for his role in the operation. Strong was released after serving only 15 days of that sentence, however, because of good behavior.

In early March a jury found Strong guilty of 12 counts of promotion of prostitution and one count of conspiracy to promote prostitution, ending a drawn-out trial in which jury selection began as far back as late January.

Prosecutors had said that evidence introduced at the Strong trial — including a 45-minute stretch of video in which Wright is shown having sex with a man in her office, discussing her rates for the service and then accepting cash payment — would likely be introduced again if Wright had gone to trial.

Other evidence used against Strong that could have been damning in a Wright trial included detailed client ledgers sent by Wright to Strong by email listing appointment times, names, sex services rendered and prices charged.

The Kennebunk prostitution case became a media sensation last year after police claimed to have discovered a client list including as many as 150 names, fueling intense public speculation over whether any prominent locals were on what would become known far and wide as “The List.”

Nearly 70 people have been charged with paying for sex in the case, including a former South Portland mayor and Portland planning board chairman. Kennebunk police announced last month that by the end of the summer, they would decide whether to move forward with charges against another 40 alleged johns, a move that could extend the court life of the sprawling prostitution case into 2014.

The sentencing is at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Watch bangordailynews.com and @SethKoenig for updates.

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