October 26, 2012

Lilley: Evidence not provided in Kennebunk prostitution case

By Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

The lawyer of the Thomaston man who is charged with promoting an alleged prostitution operation in Kennebunk is asking a judge to dismiss the case against his client.

click image to enlarge

This photo shows 1 High St. in Kennebunk on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, where dance studio instructor Alexis Wright allegedly ran a prostitution operation.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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Mark Strong

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Mark Strong Sr., 56, was charged last month with promotion of prostitution, a misdemeanor.

In his motion to dismiss the case, filed Thursday, Strong’s lawyer, Daniel Lilley, said prosecutors have failed to comply with the rules of discovery. In the motion, Lilley wrote that documents and other evidence the prosecution has should have been provided to him by Aug. 10.

Lilley noted that Strong has an appearance scheduled Oct. 4 in York County Superior Court in Alfred. The proceeding will be one in which the defendant would plead guilty or a trial would be scheduled. Lilley said his client will not plead guilty.

Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan said the state will address Lilley’s motion in court.

Police began investigating Alexis Wright and her Pura Vida/Zumba studio after receiving complaints about possible illegal activity at her two business locations.

Searches of Wright’s business and her home in Wells turned up video recordings of sexual acts she performed, billing information and meticulous records about the clients, according to a police affidavit
for Strong’s arrest warrant.

Neither Wright nor any of her alleged clients – whose identities have not been released – have been charged with any offenses.

Lilley questioned how his client could be charged with promotion of prostitution when no one has been charged with prostitution in the case.

“It takes two to tango,” he said.

While the identities of the alleged clients have not been released, defense lawyers who are familiar with the case have said that the list is extensive and includes well-known names.

Police have called in the suspected customers, confronted them with the allegations and shown them incriminating footage of sex acts, according to one local defense attorney.

Sarah Churchill, Wright’s lawyer, was unsuccessful in her attempt to get access to documents about the case.

Churchill asked a judge to unseal affidavits for the search warrants for Wright’s two business locations– on York and High streets in Kennebunk – and Wright’s home.

Those documents were under seal when Strong was arrested, and have since been resealed until November.

District Court Judge Wayne Douglas denied her motion Tuesday, Churchill said.

Churchill said she needs the documents to determine what investigators know that she doesn’t know, and to determine whether the search warrants were valid.

“I always thought that there had to be a reason to seal those kinds of things,” Churchill said. “Sometimes, if information is out in public, that could hamper the investigation. But based on what I know, that is not the case.”

McGettigan said she could not offer much comment.

“It’s a continuing investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the information will be forthcoming,” she said.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

akim@pressherald.com

Twitter: AnnKimPPH

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