Zumba scandal: Should names (and addresses) be released in prostitution case?
Zumba scandal: A judge allowed the release Tuesday of more information about 21 men issued summons for allegedly paying for sex with a Zumba dance instructor in Kennebunk, Maine. A former South Portland mayor was on the list of male clients in the Zumba scandal.
The first batch of men charged with being clients of a woman accused of turning her Zumba dance studio into a brothel included a former mayor and men from more than a dozen towns in Maine, as well as one each from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.Skip to next paragraph
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After initial confusion caused by the release of names without ages or addresses, a judge on Tuesday granted a request for additional information about the first 21 names out of what's believed to be more than 150 men accused of paying a fitness instructor for sex.
The list included former South Portland Mayor James Soule, who didn't return calls to his home and business, and didn't answer his door.
Others on the list included a lawyer and a real estate appraiser. The men ranged in age from 34 to 65.
The town had been awaiting the release of the list since 29-year-old Alexis Wright was charged this month with engaging in prostitution in her dance studio and in an office across the street and secretly videotaping many of her encounters. Police said she kept meticulous records suggesting the sex acts generated $150,000 over 18 months.
Wright, from nearby Wells, has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution and other charges. Her business partner also pleaded not guilty to 59 counts.
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. The next batch is due to be released Oct. 26.
The first wave of names initially created havoc for some innocent men because the lack of addresses and dates of birth made it impossible to verify exactly who was among the accused.
The addresses, ages and other identifying information of the johns were withheld after a judge ruled that state law required them to be kept confidential because the alleged sexual encounters may have been videotaped, making the men potential victims of privacy invasion.
On Tuesday, Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren reversed course, ruling in favor of a request from The Portland Press Herald newspaper that sought the release of the addresses and other information.
Press Herald attorney Sigmund Schutz argued Tuesday that releasing only partial information was unfair to people not on the list.