Although I enjoy the occasional aerobics class, I’ve not yet succumbed to Zumba. My colleague Staci, however, is a fan. She describes it as “the latest dance fitness craze,” as well as “the only dance class where people show up wearing makeup and fashionable workout gear.”
Alas, police in a small Maine town allege that some men should have worn more clothing to the local Zumba studio. The Kennebunk police department has accused Alexis Wright, a 29-year-old Zumba instructor, with running a prostitution ring out of her exercise studio. They claim that she had more than 100 clients and that her illicit sex business generated $150,000 over 18 months.
Let’s have a look at the alleged “Zumba prostitute” — who is, not surprisingly, rather attractive — and learn more about the allegations against her. There are a number of legal angles to this story….
If the allegations are accurate, Kennebunk had a lot more going for it than lobster rolls. Here’s a report from the Boston Globe:
Police on Monday released the first round of names of more than 100 men accused of paying for sex with a Zumba instructor who’s charged with turning her dance studio into a brothel in this seaside community.
The release of 21 names followed 11th-hour legal wrangling, and some residents watched the news flash on their local evening TV news.
Ah yes, the legal wrangling. A lawyer for two of the alleged johns sought an injunction to prevent release of the names. He did not succeed, and names were released — but without other identifying information, such as addresses or dates of birth. This created its own set of problems, as the Associated Press explains:
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.
“The fact is that by releasing names only, you’re getting a lot of false positives. You’re implicating people who may be completely innocent and simply share the same or similar names with people charged, and that’s a real harm,” Schutz told The Associated Press.
The AP then relates the story of a man by the name of Paul Main — whose phone has been ringing non-stop, and whose porch has been besieged by television crews — even though he’s not the Paul Main in question. Apparently some 20 people in the state of Maine have the name of Paul Main.
It appears — and we say “appears,” because there have been difficulties in confirming identities, as noted — that at least one of Alexis Wright’s alleged clients is a lawyer. According to a list reprinted in the Daily Mail, one of the alleged clients is “Jens W. Bergen.” It appears that there is a solo practitioner in Kennebunk by the name of Jens-Peter W. Bergen. According to his website bio:
Jens matriculated at the University of Maine School of Law (J.D. 1988), and was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1988, and the U.S. District Court, District of Maine in 1990. He has since represented individual and corporate clients in the District and Superior Courts throughout Southern Maine and on numerous occasions before the Maine Supreme Court….
Jens and his wife, Gui Yun, who is of Chinese heritage, reside in Kennebunk; it is Gui who is responsible for the stunning gardening gracing the office property. They are members of the Arundel Yacht Club in Kennebunkport, and parishioners at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in neighboring Biddeford, Maine. Jens has three adult children. Jens’ recreational interests include sailing, mountain and ice-climbing and men’s league soccer.
We reached out to Jens Bergen for comment, but he did not respond. If and when he does, we’ll let you know.
Will other lawyers show up as alleged clients of the so-called “Zumba prostitute”? It’s quite possible. Only 21 names have been released thus far, and law enforcement authorities claim that Alexis Wright had as many as 150 clients. The names of the alleged clients will be announced in batches, with the next group scheduled for release on October 26.
Alexis Wright has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy, and other charges. Her business partner, a 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator by the name of Mark Strong Sr., has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.
UPDATE (4/1/2013, 8:15 p.m.): Wright has pleaded guilty to 20 prostitution-related charges. Strong was previously found guilty of 13 prostitution-related charges.
We’ll continue to cover the law-related aspects of this sexy criminal case. If you’re interested, you can flip ahead to the next page for a trove of photos featuring Alexis Wright. These pictures are all safe for work (no nudity), but please note that there is some exposed flesh.