Friday, December 13, 2013
By Ann S. Kim email@example.com
(Continued from page 1)
Donald F. Hill
AP File Photo
So far, he said, school officials are not aware that any of the 21 men are related to students or staff members.
Mark Strong Sr.’s statement on Wednesday, issued through his lawyer, Daniel Lilley, asserted his innocence in the case.
Strong, a 57-year-old businessman, wrote that he developed a personal relationship with Wright after meeting her online several years ago, but, “I have never had sex with her for money.”
He said he loaned her money for a legitimate Zumba studio, which she paid back, and co-signed the lease for the space but did not participate in the business.
Strong, who is an insurance agent and a private investigator, claimed in the statement that he was arrested in retaliation for investigating Kennebunk police on Wright’s behalf when she told him she was concerned that they were harassing her. The charges and the confiscation of computers from his home and workplace are part of the retaliation, Strong said.
Strong said his investigation disclosed an incident in which a Kennebunk officer killed a woman by shooting her four times, an apparent reference to the March 27, 2011, shooting of Katherine Paulson, who suffered from mental illness.
Paulson pulled a knife on Officer Joshua Morneau. Strong noted that Morneau was not charged with a crime.
Strong said he also discovered unprofessional conduct by Audra Presby, whom he described as the lead investigator in the prostitution case.
Kennebunk officials released a prepared statement late Wednesday challenging several of Strong’s points.
The town said it never harassed Wright or Strong, and that the searches of both their properties were based on probable cause that a crime had been committed and were approved by a judge.
The town’s statement also challenged Strong’s assertion that his investigation uncovered improper conduct by the town and its officers, namely that officers killed a resident and that Presby had an inappropriate relationship with another officer and was disciplined.
The town noted that the officer-involved shooting was reported by the press and investigated by the state Attorney General’s Office, which cleared the officer of any criminal conduct.
The statement also noted that Presby was disciplined three years ago for having a romantic relationship with another officer. The reprimand is a public record, the other officer resigned and Presby and the other officer are now engaged, the statement said. The incident had nothing to do with the dance studio investigation, the statement said.
Presby did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday afternoon. Sarah Churchill, Wright’s lawyer, declined to comment on Strong’s statement.
Meanwhile, the family of a former South Portland mayor who has been charged in the prostitution case says he no longer lives in South Portland and does not run the family business, A-Best Window.
James A. Soule, 58, was one of the 21 men named this week. Reporters sought out Soule at his former home in South Portland, which police initially listed as his address. He now lists an address in Fort Myers, Fla.
Soule’s son, Adam, released a statement Wednesday saying his father has not lived in South Portland for two years.
Adam Soule said he has been general manager of A-Best Window since July 2010, managing the company’s operations.
“We will continue to have the same group of exemplary employees provide the best products and service to our customers,” Adam Soule said.
Soule, who is listed as the owner of the house where his father once lived, asked for privacy for himself and his family.
Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:
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