October 26, 2012

Judge reverses decision on information on alleged 'johns'

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

PORTLAND — A judge on Tuesday reversed his decision about what information can be released about the alleged "johns" of Zumba instructor Alexis Wright.

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The State of Maine Judicial Branch webpage containing all complaints, motions and court orders in the case of John Doe # 1 & John Doe # 2 v. Slattery

 

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren this afternoon ruled that the addresses of individuals charged as suspected prostitution clients can be released. The previous day he had said that the names of individuals issued summonses for engaging a prostitute are public information, but that Kennebunk police must withhold the addresses of defendants who are also possible victims of a violation of privacy.

Wright, 29, is accused of having sex for money at her fitness business and secretly taping the encounters. Police have said in an affidavit that Wright kept meticulous client records and that the sex acts would have generated $150,000.

In a motion filed in Cumberland County Superior Court on Tuesday, MaineToday Media, the parent company of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, argued that while a crime victim's address can be kept confidential, the records in question have to do with the individual's status as a criminal defendant.

"The fact that an individual may appear in records held by the Town of Kennebunk in two different capacities – one as an alleged perpetrator of a crime, a second time as an alleged victim of a crime – does not make his address confidential for all purposes," Sigmund Schutz, a lawyer for the papers, wrote in the motion.

Kennebunk Town Attorney William Dale said the town agrees that it's appropriate to release the addresses.

"It's come to our attention, even on this first list of 21, that there's one or more false positives," Dale said. "So we think in fairness, ages and addresses should be released to minimize, if not eliminate, the false positives."

Warren's ruling was in response to a complaint filed by two alleged "johns" who were trying to block the release of names and the prosecution of their cases.

Stephen Schwartz, the lawyer for those two suspected prostitution clients, did not object to the release of addresses, given that the judge had allowed the release of names.

Police on Monday evening released the names of 21 individuals, without any other accompanying information such as street address, town of residence or age. On Tuesday, police re-released the list with middle initials.

Kennebunk Police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee said the middle initials were added to clarify confusion caused names that belong to more than one person. He said he has been inundated with calls since the release of the names.

"It was to clarify .. and to give some relief to those people who are livid that they're being contacted by the media," he said.

The Portland Press Herald will publish the names, ages and addresses of the men who were charged once Kennebunk police provide the full information.
 

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