Alexis Wright Zumba prostitution case: Police release names of suspected johns

Police in Kennebunk, Maine, on Monday released the names of close to two dozen people suspected of paying to have sex with a fitness instructor at her Zumba studio.

The release came after a court ruled against a temporary restraining order to block the identities from getting out.

"The principle that court proceedings are public is essential to public confidence. If persons charged with crimes could withhold their identities, the public would not be able to monitor proceedings to observe whether justice has been done and to observe whether certain defendants may have received favored treatment," Justice Thomas Warren wrote in his decision.

A lawyer for at least one of the suspected johns, "John Doe 1," had argued against the release, saying doing so would destroy the families and careers of good men.

No addresses or ages were made public.

The prostitution case has struck a sensitive chord in Kennebunk, and put many residents of the picturesque town on edge.

Prosecutors say 29-year-old fitness instructor Alexis Wright was paid to have sex with customers in her studio. She allegedly got help from her business partner, Mark Strong, a 57-year-old insurance salesman and private investigator.

Wright is accused of having sex with dozens of men and videotaping many of the encounters. Strong's lawyer, Dan Lilley, said prosecutors have given him a list of 150 patrons and a computer hard drive with some videos, with erotic titles, that are part of the investigation.

Neither Wright -- whose studio is now closed, according to its website -- nor her attorney, Sarah Churchill, returned calls from CNN. The local district attorney declined to comment.

Both of the accused pleaded not guilty this month to prostitution-related charges: 106 against Wright and 59 counts against Strong.

According to Kennebunk Police, authorities were tipped off in September 2011 to illicit activity at the studio. A subsequent investigation, with help from Maine's State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration, led to the execution of search warrants on February 14.

Police arrested Strong on July 10, making the case public for the first time. That was followed by indictments against him and Wright.

Police have been handing out summonses to those accused of soliciting a prostitute; all who receive one would then have to appear in court to answer the misdemeanor charges. According to Lilley, the johns included lawyers, accountants and a local TV personality.


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