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A dance instructor accused of using her Zumba Find sex Kennebunk studio as a front for prostitution pleaded guilty Friday to 20 counts, putting an end to a guessing game that had captivated a quiet US seaside town. The agreement, which followed a second day of plea negotiations, spares Alexis Wright from the prospect of a high-profile trial featuring sex videos, exhibitionism and pornography.
Prosecutors will recommend a jail sentence of 10 months when she is sentenced, on 31 May. Wright quietly answered "guilty" 20 times when the judge read the counts, which include engaging in prostitution, promotion of prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion and theft by deception. It's an appropriate outcome, given the gravity of her actions," said the assistant attorney general Darcy Mitchell, after the brief court hearing. She was also accused of using a hidden camera to record sex acts without her clients' knowledge. Wright was originally charged with counts.
All the counts in the agreement were misdemeanors, including three counts relating to welfare and tax fraud that were reduced from felonies. Strong, 57, of Thomaston, was convicted this month of 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution and sentenced to 20 days in jail. He was originally charged with 59 counts. The scandal became a sensation following reports that Wright had at least clients, leading to a guessing game of who might be named publicly in the coastal town of Kennebunk, a community better known for its beaches and sea captains' homes than for crime.
Attorneys who have seen the client list say it included some prominent names. Those who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a high school hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter. Working together, Strong and Wright made for an unusual pairing.
Wright had attended college classes and ran dance classes for the local parks and recreation program before opening her studio in Kennebunk. But she was also engaging in paid-sex acts in the studio, in her apartment and in her office, law enforcement officials said. Overseeing the operation — and watching the sex acts live on his office computer, miles up the coast — was Strong, a married father of two who ran a successful insurance agency in Thomaston. It came as no surprise that Wright would seek a plea agreement because evidence presented in Strong's trial was so overwhelming.
After the man left, the video showed Wright pocketing the money. There was plenty of electronic evidence because the two kept in touch via text and and because Wright videotaped the clients and Strong watched live via Skype.
Videos showed them speaking openly of ledgers, payments and scheduling. Defense lawyer Sarah Churchill said Wright is married and employable, and she expects Wright will be able to enter into a payment plan. Churchill left the courtroom without talking to reporters.
Residents of Kennebunk were frustrated by media coverage of the scandal. Names of purported clients trickled out as they were charged, leading to speculation about who else might be on the list. But residents soon grew weary of the media's attention, especially after it became clear that only a few of clients were locals. So far, 66 people have been charged as clients, York County deputy district attorney Justina McGettigan said.
The state will continue to pursue charges against additional people identified on Wright's ledger if the evidence is strong enough to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt, she said. This article is more than 8 years old. Dance instructor ple guilty to 20 counts in deal that will see likely jail time but averts high-profile trial.
Alexis Wright appears in court with attorney Sarah Churchill. Associate Press in Portland, Maine. Topics Maine Prostitution US crime news. Reuse this content.Find sex Kennebunk
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