Thursday, December 12, 2013
YORK – Benjamin Hopkins, the father of Alexis Wright's son, said in court documents that the former Kennebunk Zumba instructor charged with dozens of counts of prostitution had posed naked with their child in "inappropriate pictures."
Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer
Neither Wright nor Hopkins appeared for a hearing on the claim Wednesday and a York District Court judge dismissed the matter. The dismissal apparently was expected because Wright never received a summons to appear.
Hopkins filed the complaint late last month in seeking a civil protection order for their 7-year-old son and full custody. The boy currently lives with Wright.
Hopkins claimed in court papers that the child was living in an "extremely dangerous situation" with Wright. He cited the attention the case has gotten and the fact that Wright's address in Wells has been made public. The Press Herald obtained the court documents Wednesday.
Wright, 29, is accused of prostituting herself and secretly recording the encounters. She has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts, mostly of prostitution and invasion of privacy but also three felonies related to taxes and illegally receiving public assistance benefits.
The case has drawn international attention in part because Wright is suspected of keeping a list of more than 150 names of clients, including some prominent figures.
Kennebunk police have so far released 39 names of people who have been charged with the misdemeanor of soliciting prostitution, and more names are expected to be released as early as this Friday.
Hopkins initially filed the complaint Oct. 26, seeking a temporary protection from abuse order. Judge Daniel Driscoll denied that order the same day the complaint was filed and scheduled a final hearing for Wednesday.
In the courtroom Wednesday, Judge Michael Cantara called out Hopkins' name and then Wright's name, scanning the court each time. Neither responded.
"This matter is dismissed," Cantara said.
In Hopkins' complaint, he said he received a phone call Oct. 17 from a case worker for the state Department of Health and Human Services in Biddeford who learned of the pictures of Wright and their son from Kennebunk police.
The complaint says the pictures, which the caseworker described to Hopkins, had been taken from a camera belonging to Mark Strong Sr., 57, the Thomaston businessman charged with being Wright's business partner in the alleged prostitution operation.
"My son appeared naked covered from the waist down with only a sheet. Alexis was fully naked," Hopkins said in the complaint. Hopkins said he was not shown the pictures.
Kennebunk Police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee said he could not comment on the allegations in Hopkins' complaint, citing the ongoing investigation. He confirmed that no one had been charged in connection with the allegations Hopkins made to the court.
Sara Berry, the DHHS case worker who contacted Hopkins, declined to comment on Hopkins' complaint or the court filings.
"I cannot comment on anything," Berry said again when asked whether DHHS is investigating the matter.
Hopkins did not immediately return a phone message left for him Wednesday.
His attorney, Dana Prescott, provided the information about the summons never being served to Alexis Wright. "There is an ongoing effort to modify the parental rights," he said.
Prescott said he has been negotiating with Wright's attorney, attempting to have the boy live with Hopkins.
"I've been trying to work with her attorney as privately as possible," he said.
Wright's attorney, Sarah Churchill, said she did not know the hearing was scheduled in York District Court until being contacted about it Tuesday.
"At this point in time, I don't have any comment about those specific allegations," Churchill said. "I think it's fair to say that my client would like very much, especially things about her son, not to be played out in the public realm."
Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: scottddolan