May 20, 2019
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New list of 15 men charged in Kennebunk case includes South Portland pastor

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Alexis Wright is accused of operating a prostitution business out of her Zumba studio in Kennebunk, secretly videotaping her encounters and keeping meticulous records of her clients. Police plan to release more than 100 names over the next several weeks.

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Kennebunk police on Friday released a third list of 15 men charged with paying for sex in the ongoing investigation into an alleged prostitution business in the town.

The police have already released the names of 39 men charged as johns in the case over two previous installments, on Oct. 16 and Oct. 26. In total, 54 men have been charged with engaging a prostitute in the case.

Included on the most recent list is James Andrew Ferreira, who was listed as recently as Oct. 23 as the adult ministries director under the Maine District Church of the Nazarene’s Sunday School Board. His name has since been removed from the website.

According to his personal website, which has also recently been shut down, Ferreira five years ago founded Life Formation Strategies, “a Christian life coaching practice in southern Maine.” He also described himself as a “writer, pastor, magician and speaker from southern Maine” and notes that he is “a family life pastor in the Church of the Nazarene.”

Ferreira did not immediately return a telephone message Friday evening. An email sent to his church account was returned as undeliverable.

Friday’s list included the names of 15 men charged. They are:

Peter B. Chavonelle Jr., 47, of Windham; Derek M. Chapman, 32, of Portland; Jeffrey A. Rogers, 38, of Scarborough; Craig S. Patterson, 53, of South Portland; Stanley H. Cornwall Jr., 50, of Buxton; Robert W. Hazleton Jr., 68, of Estero, Fla.; Jason A. Douin, 38, of Augusta; Wendall Wayne Fessenden, 62, of Kennebunkport; Brian R. Bedard, 38, of Biddeford; Michael A. McInnis, 53, of Saco; James Andrew Ferreira, 49, of South Portland; Jeffrey R. Beaupre, 46, of Lyman; Thomas F. Powers, 56, of Edgecomb; William Lee Kerr, 53, of Augusta; and Jeffrey L. Comeau, 35, of Berwick.

Among those previously charged were former South Portland Mayor James Soule, former Kennebunk High School hockey coach Donald Hill, local lawyer Jens Bergens, and former Portland Planning Board Chairman Joe Lewis.

Investigators say a list of as many as 150 clients was kept by Alexis Wright, 29, of Wells, who is accused by police of running a prostitution business along with Thomaston businessman Mark Strong, 57, out of her Kennebunk fitness studio.

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 expected to be released Friday by police 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 first list of men charged with engaging a prostitute was delayed and issued on the Monday following the scheduled Friday, Oct. 12, release day because of a motion filed in court by attorney Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz was representing two people on the alleged johns list and was trying 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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