July 11, 2012

Maine insurance agent charged with promoting prostitution

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The well-known owner of an insurance agency in Thomaston was arrested Tuesday on a charge of promoting prostitution.

Mark Strong, who owns The Strong Agency on Main Street in Thomaston, was taken into custody by state police.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state police, said Strong's arrest was the result of a months-long investigation in York County. He could not explain why an established businessman in the midcoast was wanted in connection with an investigation by the Kennebunk Police Department.

Kennebunk Police Chief Robert Mackenzie declined to comment on the case, saying more details will be released today.

McCausland said, "I don't have a lot of details on this because it is their investigation."

McCausland said Strong was arrested early Tuesday afternoon and taken to the Knox County Jail, where he was charged with a single count of promotion of prostitution.

Jail officials said Strong was later released on $5,000 cash bail. He could not be reached for comment at his home on Knox Street or at his place of business.

McCausland said state police investigators spent the rest of the day searching Strong's home and his insurance agency.

In January 2011, The Strong Agency moved into new office space at the former Maine State Police barracks on Route 1 in Thomaston. His company's website said the firm provides homeowners, auto and commercial line insurance.

Residents described Strong as a well-established local businessman who once served on the town's Board of Selectmen.

"To be perfectly honest, I am shocked at the allegations," said a neighbor, state Sen. Christopher W. Rector, who has known Strong's family for years. "It's sad if the allegations are true."

Rector's children were friends with Strong's children. Rector said Strong has ties to the community and still lives in the house where he was raised.

Lee-Ann Upham, chairwoman of the Thomaston Board of Selectmen, said Strong served on the board for about five years in the 1990s.

Upham said Strong once did a sports talk show on local cable television. He also works as a baseball umpire, said Upham.

"I'm very surprised, as I'm sure everyone in town would be," she said of the charge. "He is the insurance agent for a lot of people in town."

Upham said she was puzzled by the alleged connection to Kennebunk.

"I just can't fathom where this is going," she said.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: dhoey@pressherald.com

 

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