I’m guessing the phrase “Honey, I’m heading to my Zumba class” has taken on a whole new meaning in southern Maine.

The gents on the client list may not have been partaking in much Zumba while at Alexis Wright’s downtown Kennebunk studio, but there surely is a lot of dancing going on now — by lawyers in the courtroom and, I’m guessing, behind the closed doors of the homes of those who are alleged to have been enjoying Ms. Wright’s company.

Though attorneys representing some on that list have been making last-minute and desperate attempts to persuade judges to block the public release of “the list,” it would appear that for many the jig is most certainly up.

In case you missed it, Wright, of Wells, and her business associate, Mark Strong of Thomaston, have been charged with multiple crimes, including running a prostitution business out of Wright’s Zumba Studio in downtown Kennebunk for the past year and a half or so.

And by all published accounts, Wright was allegedly a very busy woman, kept meticulous records of her 150 or so clients and also secretly videotaped them having sex with her.

Boy, oh boy, that sounds like the investigators might have some pretty good evidence on their side.

Prostitution stories always get a fair amount of press coverage in Maine, but this one has gone national. That’s in part, of course, because of the size of her client list and the fact that the scandal occurred in one of Maine’s most famous towns, known for its quaintness and proximity to Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport. But on top of that, Strong’s attorney, Daniel Lilley, an infamous fellow himself, let it slip that the list was peppered with “prominent” people, like doctors and lawyers and even a TV personality.

Oh, my!

Investigators have indicated they will be releasing the names of those clients who have been charged with a crime, and they started handing out summonses last week.

The names of people charged with crimes are public information, unless the accused are juveniles, but lawyers here seem to be arguing that even though they have been charged it would be just too damaging to release their clients’ names.

In one document filed with the court Thursday night, one of those charged was described as being “disabled with children and a productive member of society.”

His lawyer argued that the charge against his client was so notorious it would severely harm his reputation and his family and professional relationships.

Hmmmm. Should we start making a list of those who could have made that argument over the past 10 to 20 years, yet still had their pictures on the front pages of papers across the state?

The client went on to write, “I am deeply concerned that a public spectacle will be made of the allegations as they pertain to me.”

Apparently, Wright’s client list was so long that the superintendent of schools of RSU 21 sent a letter to teachers asking them to be diligent for signs of bullying and signs of emotional turmoil in schoolchildren once the list was released.

It was a wise and proactive decision because there most certainly will be turmoil and unfortunately the children of those men are going to suffer.

Some news agencies are having discussions about whether to publish the names at all, whether to publish only the names of the public figures or whether to publish all of them.

Unfortunately, when people behave badly, commit crimes and get caught, their names often end up publicized. It may be a mere note in a police beat column or an inch-high headline with pictures on Page One.

And in nearly every case there are family members, often children, who suffer for it.

In all my years spent in a newsroom and of all of the criminal cases I reported on — some that involved well-known and prominent people behaving badly — I never once heard anyone argue against running the story of someone’s criminal citation or arrest for fear the defendant’s family would be embarrassed.

I understand this whole case is smarmy — or perhaps since it occurred in a quaint seaside Maine village, we should call it distasteful.

But I’ve covered a couple of prostitution stings in my day and never heard one person complain when the prostitutes’ mug shots were lined up across the front page of the paper. I never heard one person suggest we should not have done so because the women’s mothers and children would have to live with the public ridicule.

Of course, they weren’t that prominent.

It’s fine and even responsible to have ongoing conversations about what should and shouldn’t be printed or aired. It’s appropriate and responsible for the news media to have conversations about ethics and the public’s right to know.

But to argue that in this one case, these particular men being charged with a highly publicized crime should not have their names printed or aired because it might wound a town is wrong.

If that’s the case, then the media most certainly shouldn’t have broadcast the prostitution charges levied against Ms. Wright, either. She has a child, too.

90 replies on “Jig may be up for ‘Zumba exercisers’ on the list”

  1. Any man that loved his wife wouldn’t harm her by seeking sex outside of the marriage.  Any man with a brain or any measure of decency wouldn’t risk giving his wife a STD.  Anyone who’s done either of these deserves to be punished by his wife, the law, and by the exposure to the public of what kind of person they are.  Time to face the consequences of your uncontolled needs fellas!

      1. I’d say that people with that attitude have a very low opinion of the value placed on the lives of others and likely aren’t far from setting prices for their own “ZUMBA” services.  Guess it takes all types to make the world go round.

        1.  My point we don’t know ANY of the circumstances of any of the johns. some may be single, some may be in sexless marriages, some may be in open relationships. you don’t know anything about them. Yes some of them are gonna be adulterous jerks but not all. Every man pays for sex  in some way  either thru cash or gifts. God forbid we be upfront and honest about it. They should get off their high horse and legalize it. The swing in money would be in the hundreds of millions to billions. Bye Bye national debt.

          1. If legal prostitution generated $2 billion in taxes every year it would take 8 thousand years to pay off the national debt.  I’m just sayin’ . . .

    1.  The business is the videotaping aspect of it. Compromising powerful people is very lucrative. Let the truth out and it’ll be easier to sort who the victims really are.

    2. Lots of criminals justify their crime by convincing themselves that their particular crime should be legal. For example, lots of users and even dealers of illegal drugs make that claim because everyone involved is willing and no outside person is affected so there is no victim, and then you have terrorists like Timothy McVeigh who somehow manage to persuade themselves that they are the leading edge of a justified revolution so are not subject to the same laws that govern the rest of us. But in every case, the act IS a crime and the criminal must pay the price specified in the law, whether they agree with that law or not.

      1.  Equating Timmy McViegh with a prostitute or a John is like comparing a mass murderer with someone who chooses to smoke a weed. 

        Yeah, in the second case the law has been broken, but no one was hurt. 

    3. Banks, big corporations and Wall street commit crimes that really hurt and even kill people and it’s legal. Prostitution, if done within professioal standards, is a public service – and it’s never going to go away.

    4. I couldn’t agree more, Nick. “You without sin, should cast the first stone.” I can understand the moral judgments on this page, why some find this behavior morally reprehensible. But illegal? Let’s face it, it’s only illegal because the IRS is afraid they might miss a dime. People need to grow up. NEWSFLASH: Men are ruled by their biology. Some of them seek sex on the side. If women were designed the same, they would be doing the same thing. Not everything can be framed as “equal rights.” Regardless of feminism, men and women are different, always have been and always will be. What consenting adults do behind closed doors should be no one’s business unless it involves criminal activity OTHER than sex. These same investigative resources would be better used to clean up our streets from junkies and violent offenders. And I’m a Christian man! We all have sin natures and some people choose to sin. This is reality. “Judge not less ye be judged.”

      1. Nah, dude, this is 2012 and all that “He who…” stuff has been updated.  Now it’s all about “He who runs out of stones first is in deep trouble.”    LOL   I think is was George Washington said:  “We would not find so much pleasure in the faults of others if we had none of our own…”  Enough said.

  2. You probably should have been “deeply troubled by the (possible) public spectacle” BEFORE YOU COMMITTED THIS CRIME.   Great article.  “Oh no!  I committed a crime, but please don’t tell anyone, because it could hurt my reputation.”  Idiots.  YOU hurt your reputation when you made the decision to do something stupid.

    1. I think you’re exactly right about this.  The time to have worried about the consequences of such disgusting and illegal behavior is long past.  Now, it’s time for them to have the reputation they truly deserve based on their actions, not the reputation they’d like to still have based on what they SAID their ethics were. Hopefully, some of them will learn from this.

      1. I’m sure alot of them are going to learn alot about things like DIVORCE, BANKRUPCY AND MID LIFE CAREER CHANGES LOL !!!

  3. Thank you Maine media! This is good news for dull lives: titillation over who’s gotten it and who’s getting it! 

  4. Know very well that mine is a minority opinion in this matter.  I just do not understand the fascination w/this “crime.”  Maybe I see it as a larger statement on what kind of society we are becoming or more properly, are.  We’re so concerned w/everyone else’s behavior, that we don’t pay enough attention to our own.  Maybe it’s why soaps were once so popular or why so-called reality shows are now.  No, I just don’t get it.  Really prefer to live my own life & I’ll be damned if you run mine… Sunshine.  Maybe because it’s leaf peeping time in Maine?  Peace.

    1.   “I just do not understand the fascination w/this “crime” 

       You obviously read (and commented on) the story, so what is your fascination with this crime? By answering that you might find some understanding. Unless of course, you are above such things and accidentially stumbled on this story. 

      1. Thanks for referencing a statement.  (Most times I let the inane comments go by, but being a rainy Sunday…)  “Crime” in quotes for a reason.  “Fascination” involves the (seemingly @ least on here) overwhelming majority POV to see the names.  My larger point was more of an observation on the why.  Actually everything was there in my comment, but glad to elaborate for you.  Enjoy your life & indeed hopefully “you might find some understanding…”

        1. I’m sure  you won’t pass up the opportunity to peek at the “list” once it is out. My point was you  bemoan people’s “fascination w/this crime” but you gobble up all the latest items on it as well. Guess I had to elaborate for ya. I’d bet a dollar to doughnuts you’re one of those folks who don’t watch TV (you read Dostoyevski, Tolstoy, Joyce, Kafka and Ayn Rand instead, right.), watch only foreign and independent movies and would never , ever dream of buying some supermarket rag at the checkout stand.  You’re a much better person than the rest of us. Geeshhhhhh
           Oh..and thanks, I will enjoy my life

          PS I’ll let ya have the last word.

    1. I’m hoping that Charlie Sheen is on this list as well.  This would definitely become a court case worth paying attention too!  LOL

  5. Ms. Wright’s child is facing humiliation, also, so why isn’t there concern for her?  You are correct, Renee.

      1. That is so true. The accusation is as harmful to a reputation as a conviction, and there is no need to rush the names out there until after it’s proven.

  6. I suspect that something besides the jig has been up with these Zumba exercise guys for some time now…..

  7. I agree!!! Print the list, plain and simple, regardless of who is who, let the chips fall where they may…..

  8. If there are as many as 100 “Johns”on that list- that could mean  perhaps 500 or so people could be in the spotlight-when spouses , children and perhaps elderly parents are included. I hope that some 15 year old who dearly loves and respects his or her Dad doesn’t do something that will make all of us regret even posting a comment here. Some really horrific unintended consequences could show up fairly quickly. 

    1. Then the dad should have thought of that before jumping in bed with a prostitute.  Grow up and face the music.  This will be a great learning moment.  

      1. So to hell with a kid if he kills himself, the dad should have thought about it before he did what he did? Is that what you’re saying? You are a very cold hearted person. I’d love for your internet history for the last year to be published along with your name. We’d see how long you feel the way you do.

        1. So you are saying that you want to protect a man who slept with a prostitute but you do support rape, as long as it is not legitimate, by one of Todd Aiken’s constituents?  You are a very cold hearted person. BTW, all my history is published and my name has been attached to it.  :}

        2. If anyone is going to regret a comment, it’s you, since you’re the one who suggested this response to the situation. I hope no kids read it. 

        3. Well, Dad should have a talk with his children, now shouldn’t he? It’s not as though the disclosure of the names will be a shocking surprise to the families.

  9. Why is Daniel Lilley “infamous”?    This article makes it appear he has a significant criminal past.

    1. Lilley is a prominent, longtime, successful criminal lawyer in Southern Maine.  He has been involved in many controversial cases and, at times, has used controversial tactics. He has never been shy about talking to the media. Perhaps “infamous” is, strictly speaking, an incorrect term to describe him, but he is certainly well-known.

  10. Prostitution and drugs should be legalized for those over 21: highly regulated and highly taxed with all the revenue going into the helathcare system – they ‘ll need it.

    This would save the public huge sums of money by doing away with the DEA, other agencies, other law enforcement personnel,  and would also save on prison costs.

    Who are we to decide – that people can’t ruin their lives if they want?

  11. I’m agreeing with Nick Tolman: Paying for sex is only an issue for Puritanical prudes. The behavior of consenting adults is really not much concern to wholesome and well-adjusted folks. But as long as it’s considered a crime, the people on the list of clients should expect to see their names made public. Big whoop. If ya get lathered up about such things, go volunteer your time to help another person in a way that might matter.

    1. “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. ”

      –H. L. Mencken

      Sorry, couldn’t resist. But I do think the Johns are idiots.

  12. Thank you! I think you hit the nail on the head with this story. I’ll never slanger your articles again.. It is frustrating to think someone is to important to shame. Just thank you. 

  13. If you’re going to pay for sex, it might as well be with a fitness instructor. You’ll get more bang for your buck

  14. I realize from your posts that most of you have a holier than thou attitude and want to see these men embarassed and their lives ruined and apparently you all need some gossip to talk about as if you yourseves are sin free. But the release of the names will not only hurt the men involved but also their families and it’s totally unnecessary. Their names is none of our business and the courts can adjudicate the cases without making the names public if the judge chooses. Get a life and stop desiring to see families destroyed. I’ll bet you wouldn’t want everyone to see a list of the websites you’ve visited during the last year or want people to know about the toys and DVD’s hidden away in your bedrooms. Some things should be personal even if they do involve a violation of the law. These acts were allegedly between two consenting adults. It’s not like the accused are charged with child molestation or rape

    1. That is crap.all of it.. What makes you think this people are above the common criminal who names make the paper everyday.. I could really care less if people who tend to spit on the poor are asking to be treated better.

    2. I believe it should be legal, I think pot should be legal, The pot growers name hit the paper before they are convicted. You wanting to protect them so bad makes me think its close to home for you. LOL

    3. wow, get a life and stop desiring to see families destroyed? Gee, I would think the person going for these “zumba” lessons should have thought beforehand how it might affect their family or loved ones, and especially children. Operations like this never stay secret. The families have the right (especially the wives/and or husbands – who knows) to know whether their partner is having sex on the side; to know if they need to go to a dr for an std checkup; to know if they can trust the people they are with. If they lie about this, they lie about other things. At work, at home…….

      1. in addition, as a member of the community and a registered voter, I would like to know if my doctor, dentist, selectman/woman, or mayor is engaging in this activity. It says so much about them and more.

    4. Criminal proceedings involving adult defendants are always open to the public. We have a right to know who has been charged with a crime, what that crime is, and the outcome of the charges.

      Further, the men hurt themselves. They should have thought about the consequences before they got involved with this. They are to blame.

      And if any are found not guilty, they will be exonerated, and not have their reputation left to the whims of rumor and innuendo.

      There is no comparison between the transparency of the justice system and the websites you visit or the DVDs you watch. It’s not a crime to browse the Web or to watch DVDs. It is a crime to be involved in prostitution.

      1.  Once upon a time “all criminal proccedings involving adult defendents were open to the public.”

        Please be advised that since 2002, that is no longer true.

        You write as if you expect “the men’ to be embarrassed.  They probably will not.  Their wives and children will be embarrassed.  That is the shame of this case.  it is the innocent who will suffer.

          1. You said  “Criminal proceedings involving adult defendants are always open to the public.”

            You did not specify particulay proceedings.

            I never expectsd a “opps”  from you.  You and your continual “citation please” requests are nothing more than foils for your lack of knowledge in certain areas.

            When you eventually grow up and post an “opps” or a “my bad”  I’ll know you are finely worth a conversation.

          2. This whole discussion is about Maine law, not federal law. Under Maine law, criminal proceedings involving adult defendants are always open to the public.

  15. I feel sorry for her for being caught up in this mess and she was wrong  for keeping a list of her clients names and for videotaping them. Part of the price should have been for privacy. But if she had as many sticking out of her as she’s had stuck in her she’d look like a porcupine.

    1. I’m hoping that thought would be a turnoff for most, I said most..  I hope some Bangor Elite are on that list. LOL!

  16. Since about the age of 15 to 20 I used to go to PQ on the weekends. St. George had everything that  any man/women would ever dream of wanting.. So I am somewhat jaded.. people selling sex doesn’t bother me one bit, it is the pompous ego driven I’m better then you people who used her service and now want to be protected… expose them and their crimes for all to see and humble and shame them in the public forum.. It needs to be done just to prove that everyone in this country is treated the same.

  17. I think people don’t realize the scale of the thing.   It’s a relatively small town and when the tourists are gone, it’s much like any other close-knit community in Maine.  Even supposing some clients were summer visitors, 150 defendents is a huge number of local people to be charged at once.

    Imagine 150 people in your small town were charged all at the same time with any similar crime. Now add in whatever extra shame factor the exposure of this particular crime carries.
     
    I’m not defending these guys or saying they shouldn’t be charged. But the effect on the town will be certainly be widespread, profound and longlasting.

  18. Renee, the evidence against Ms. Wright is apparently overwhelming. We have yet to understand the degree to which the evidence against any particular “John” is anywhere near as overwhelming.
     
     
    Please ask yourself these questions:
     
    If your is brother/father/cousin/son/best (male) frined was on this list, would you be so giddy to see them shamed in the court of public opinion? If the bust was in Meddybemps rather than Kennebunk, would you be anywhere near as excited?
     
    Then ask yourself this: “If any of the above, including Ms. Wright, prove to be innocent, exactly where do they go to get their reputation back?”
     
    The front pages of the BDN? I expect not!
     

    1. So Dannyboy you think some people are above the law and shouldn’t be named because of who they are.. every newspaper has an arrest section, none of those people named  have been convicted of a crime, yet their names are out there. Is their shame less the those of your friends.

  19. Ah, yes. Plesae, let’s start attaching a large SCARLET “A” to all those “johns” for them to wear, day in and day out. We might, also want to start requiring those politicians and religious leader who partake of the same times of activities-specifically adultery and philandery-to do the same thing: prominently wear a large scarlet “A” for all to see. For the record, I am NOT condoning the activities by the johns or by the politicians and religious leaders; what I am pointing out is the HYPOCRISY of making such a big deal of the so-called johns while tacitly accepting the behavior of the likes of Mark Sanford, Jimmy Swaggart (he’s still preaching away on TV), and many, many, many others. 

    1. they get called out in public,that is how you know about them.the problem is our society really does not give a rip about this kind of story for very long.Now about your name………………

  20. So let me get this right:

    I can have sex with 20,000 women (as Wilt Chamberlin claimed) or 2,000 (as claimed by Magic Johnson) and so long as it is quid-pro-quo (just dinner and a movie as payment) I’m
    perfectly legal.

    IF, however, I give one of these women the price of dinner and a movie, then I have violated the law?

    For most men the idea that they had sex… lots of sex… is not embarrassing. Bill Clinton wasn’t
    embarrassed, Ted Kennedy wasn’t embarrassed, Mark Sanford, wasn’t embarrassed, Jim Baker wasn’t embarrassed. Surely Magic and Wilt were not embarrassed as they were the ones outing themselves.

    Laws have to have some reason to exist. They must be accepted as necessary by the people / the
    governed. Our society has outgrown prostitution laws. It is long passed time to deep six them.

  21. “… Strong’s attorney, Daniel Lilley, an infamous fellow himself,…”

    How about backing that up with some facts? I’m not saying it isn’t so – just curious.

  22. I really don’t care who the johns are or the severity of the crimes. Their names should be included in the court pages just like anyone else with a “serving alcohol to minors,” “OUI” or other type conviction. Is a single count of a crime front-page news? I think not. Should these idiots have thought more about their families, careers and morals than their own “needs” before participating in this type of activity? You bet.

    Those that really care about the consequences of their actions will take a proactive approach, explain to their families how they got mixed up in this, how they will be a better person from this point forward, and set an example for their kids of what to/not to do in life. They will get counseling for their families to help them deal with the backlash.

  23. This whole affair….no pun intended….is a ridiculous, judgmental waste of time for the police and the courts that ultimately will accomplish no more than closing down one “house of ill repute” leaving room for another to silently open its doors.  Let’s be realistic, prostitution is referred to as the oldest profession for a reason.  It’s always been a part of the human condition and it always will be no matter how many times you catch ’em in the act or how many people you attempt to humiliate.  The answer…or maybe I should say the solution……is very simple.  Legalize it.  Let the state regulate licensure and standards.  Require monthly, or at least quarterly health checks for all sex workers.  Take a good look at how the system works in Nevada and stop wasting time and Maine tax payer’s money.   What do we accomplish?  A lot!   We stop wasting police and court time.  We get prostitution off of the streets and into clean, safe, regulated houses.  We significantly reduce the chances of spreading venereal diseases because we’re requiring routine health checks and condom usage.   And….we’re raising a little revenue for the State in the process.  It’s a win/win solution.

  24. Wow I don’t agree with the columnist or alot of the posters on here often but I do today.If its OK to print wrights photo then every man and yes it is possible there might even be a woman on that list of 150 should be printed.

  25. You print the names of people who commit crimes all the time!!  Why is htere a question?  Because some husband, father, fiance…hired someone to have sex with them?  That’s adultery.  It’s illegal.  Now I also believe that there should be no law forbidding consenting adults from engaging in sex for “monetary exchange” provided one isn’t married.  It’s no different than paying for dinner and drinks and then having sex.  But she stole from Medicaid, she secretly videotaped them and she didn’t pay taxes.  Those charges plus the adulterers should be considered. 

  26. They put her name out there and also the partner…..so YES …Name them. Alice clark Goldsmith

  27. I wonder how many have already told their families… I’m just saying, if you thought you were on that list, and that it was likely to be published sometime in the near future, would you say to yourself, “I am going to keep my name clean for one more week, or month”. Wouldn’t you want to come out and take the opportunity to do it yourself, so that your wife and kids didn’t have to face meeting someone in public who read about it before they did? How terrible to have someone come up to you in the grocery store and take your hand and say how sorry you are, and be there saying “what are you talking about Mabel?” 

    1. I would love to be the one breaking the news in the grocery store,  But she most likely has her maid do the shopping, so it’s a moot point.. most women of the rich and/or famous need to be humbled a little.. looking down upon to little people is like a sport to them.

  28. I think that the names of the “Johns” should only be published after they
    are found or plead guilty., not for being accused. I also think that for
    every conviction of these Johns that there should be a seperate charge of
    prostitution against the providers of these services. These women get a slap
    on the wrist and just go back to thier old tricks. Get the prostitutes off
    the street with jail time and tax evaision charges for every single “count” –
    there wont be any “Johns”

  29. Renee had a good point — how many grown men do I know that dash off to Zumba classes?  How about NONE?  Does none work for you?  Sure works for me.  LOL  Far as I knew Zumba was just another fitness craze for middle-aged housewives.  “Yep, gonna have to drop the rest-a them trees in the mo-nin, park the dozer, gotta scoot to my Zumba class!”  C’mon now…

  30. Its ok you busy bodies with no life, the names will eventially come out. Relax… Maybe your husbands name will be one of them???? Oh my..

    Remember that movie sixth sense??

    “I see nosey prople”????? LOL

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