Retired colonel who shares name with client in ‘Zumba prostitute witch hunt’ tells how he’s had to try and convince wife he’s not slept with a hooker

via Business Insider: 

 

  • 75-year-old retired colonel James Soule was forced to sit down with his wife and explain to her that he had not been sleeping with prostitutes
  • He shares name with one of 21 men on list accused of paying Alexis Wright, a 29-year-old Zumba instructor for sex at her illicit brothel in her exercise studio in Kennenbunk, Maine
  • Police only released list of names, without addresses or dates of birth – leading to paranoia and confusion in town
  • Mr Soule claims there is a ‘witch hunt’ going on in small New England shore town

Residents of the small town at the centre of the ‘Zumba prostitute’ scandal have claimed they are the subject of a ‘witch hunt’ after police released the names of 21 johns.

Police revealed the list, but without addresses or dates of birth, forcing fathers, husbands and prominent business owners to have excruciating conversations with their families as suspicion and paranoia sweeps the community.

MailOnline can reveal that 75-year-old retired colonel James Soule was forced to sit down with his wife and explain to her that he had not been sleeping with prostitutes.

 

'The other shoe': Residents of Kennebunk, Maine, have been waiting for months for the alleged client list of Zumba instructor Alexis Wright to be released‘The other shoe’: Residents of Kennebunk, Maine, have been waiting for months for the alleged client list of Zumba instructor Alexis Wright to be released

 

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Charged: Wright faces 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges after prosecutors allege she secretly recorded sexual trysts with clients

Mr Soule lives in Napa, California, but has a house in the Maine town of Pemaquid said he had nothing to do with the case but had been forced to act after he realised he shared the name of one of the johns.

He is considering legal action after also having to ring up his local radio station to tell them he was not involved when he heard his name being read out on-air.

The 21 men, many of them in prominent positions including lawyers, realtors and businessmen, have all been accused of paying to have sex with Alexis Wright, a 29-year-old Zumba instructor who is charged with running an illicit brothel out of her exercise studio in Kennenbunk, Maine.

 

The Kennebunk Police Department has released a list of names of her clients but refused to release any other identifying information such as addresses or dates of birth, citing a fear that their privacy will be invaded.

 

Mr Soule said: ‘I’m thinking about legal action over this because of the stress this is going to cause. I had to talk to my wife explain to her it was not me. She believes me and we are fine but it is not a conversation we should have had.

 

‘I heard my name read out on the local radio station this morning and had to call in to tell them that it was not me. Thankfully both of my children are overseas so probably won’t hear about this.

‘For some people it’s going to be really embarrassing, regardless of whether they are the johns or not’.

South Portland Councillor Rosemarie De Angelis, who represents the division vacated by another James Soule in 2009, said it would be ‘very uncomfortable’ for anybody caught up in what was happening.

She said: ‘It reminds me of that game show To Tell the Truth where people had to convince the public they were something they weren’t, and the liar was revealed at the end’.

 

Shocked: The scandal, which has attracted national news, has left residents gossiping about the Zumba studio and the alleged client list

Shocked: The scandal, which has attracted national news, has left residents gossiping about the Zumba studio and the alleged client list

A friend of another James Soule, who was also not one of the johns, described what was happening as a ‘witch hunt’.

 

The male friend, who asked that he not be named, said: ‘This is worse than if they had just handed out all the details.

THE LIST OF SHAME

The names of the alleged clients of the Zumba prostitute are:

Gary D. Bahlkow, Jens W. Bergen, Norman P. Crepeau, Joseph P. Cuetara, Kenneth A. Fairbanks, Donald F. Hill, Monie B. Hobbs Jr., David Kline, Robert R. Labonte, Dale P. Madore, Paul A. Main, Harry J. McMann, Kevin L. Pagliccia, Claude S. Palmer Jr., Philip K. Parker, Colin P. Powers, Clinton J. Ray, James A. Soule, John D. Verreault, James P. White, Peter M. Wormell Sr.

‘My friend James has been getting calls all morning from people who think it is him.

‘I know him and his girlfriend are going through a rough time right now, so this won’t help’.

 

Searches carried out by MailOnline reveal that the men matching the names released live up to 50 miles away from Kennebunk, many in Portland, the state’s largest city.

Most appear to be fathers, husbands or boyfriends. Their Facebook profiles often show pictures of their children and partners.

Men sharing the same name as those released are also prominent citizens and business owners, including at least one lawyer and at least one realtor.

In the original paperwork filed during the case, one of the men is described as having residences in both Maine and Massachusetts.

In an affidavit he said: ‘I am a disabled person. I am a productive member of society, I have children, and my family and reputation will be irreparably harmed if my name is revealed pursuant to the so-called ‘list.’’

A second man said he owned a business and is a father-of-one who does not deserve the ‘public spectacle’ that will accompany its publication in full.

More names are expected to be released in future with around 150 people are suspected of being clients, many of whom were videotaped without their knowledge.

 

 

'Co-conspirator': Mark Strong, right, was charged with promoting prostitution and accused of helping Wright set up the illegal operation

‘Co-conspirator’: Mark Strong, right, was charged with promoting prostitution and accused of helping Wright set up the illegal operation

Mark Strong Sr
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Clients: Some of the men are prominent citizens and business owners, including at least one lawyer and at least one realtor

Kim Ackley, a local real estate agent, said that disclosure of the names of the people accused of being prostitution clients will cause temporary pain for families but it’s only fair because others who are accused of embarrassing crimes don’t get breaks.

‘What’s fair for one has to be fair for the other,’ said Ackley, who believes she knows several people on the list. ‘The door can’t swing just one way.’

The release of 21 names followed 11th-hour legal wrangling, and some residents watched the news flash on their local evening TV news.

An attorney for two of the men filed an injunction, asking a judge to block the release of the names — saying his clients would be subject to invasion of privacy.

Residents had been anxiously awaiting the release of names for weeks since Wright was charged with engaging in prostitution in her dance studio and in an office she rented across the street.

 

 

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Police say Wright had 150 clients

Johns: Police say Wright had 150 clients

 

 

Wright, from nearby Wells, has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges. Her business partner, 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator Mark Strong Sr, from Thomaston, has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.

In town, residents heard the list could include lawyers, law enforcement officers and well-known people, heightening their curiosity.

The prostitution charges and ensuing publicity, which reached across the country and beyond, came as a shock in the small town, which is well-known for its ocean beaches, old sea captains’ mansions and the neighboring town of Kennebunkport, home to the Bush family’s Walker’s Point summer compound.

The list of names was delayed Friday by legal action by an attorney representing two of the people accused of being johns. The lawyer, Stephen Schwartz, said releasing the names will ruin people’s lives, even if they’re ultimately acquitted of the misdemeanor charges against them.

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren on Monday denied a motion seeking to block disclosure of the names.

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Dancing: Wright dances in one of 300 explicit videos she posted online

 

But he ordered that addresses should be withheld for those people who were victims of invasion of privacy when their acts were recorded.

Some people in town said they had their suspicions about Wright, but others were in the dark about the life of the bubbly dance instructor who introduced many local women to the Latin-flavored dance and fitness program.

Ackley’s daughter, Alison Ackley, who participated in Wright’s class four or five times, said she had no inkling of any illegal activity.

‘She was so young,’ Alison Ackley said. ‘She had a lot going for her. It’s a shame she was hanging out with these older men and getting money from them.’

Kim Ackley said she believes the interest will die down once all the names become public in the coming weeks.

‘These guys have got to pay the price,’ she said. ‘It will all blow over in time, you know. A year from now it won’t even be talked about, once it goes through the courts. You’ve got to move on and go on with your lives.’

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