The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Nation & World

November 23, 2013

Zumba instructor in prostitution bust leaves jail

ALFRED, Maine — The Zumba instructor who ran a prostitution business in which she videotaped unsuspecting clients so her business partner could watch from his office 100 miles away has been released from jail, bringing to a close a scandal featuring sex videos, adultery and a client list with more than 100 names.

Alexis Wright left the York County Jail at about 9:45 a.m. Saturday after serving nearly six months of a 10-month sentence for engaging in and promoting prostitution, as well as several welfare- and tax-related charges. Her jail term was cut short because of good behavior and participation in a work program.

Wearing a gray suit and clutching a stack of folders, Wright strode out of the jail and into the waiting SUV driven by her husband, Jason Trowbridge.

"I have no comment," she said.

The scandal erupted a year ago in an unlikely place, a small town known for its beaches, New England charm and proximity to former President George H.W. Bush's seaside estate in Kennebunkport.

Wright's prostitution business came as a surprise to her fitness clients but not to police officers who'd become suspicious after fielding complaints about groaning, loud music and men coming and going from an office Wright rented across the street from her studio.

According to police, her business partner, Mark Strong of Thomaston, watched the sexual encounters unfold in real time on a computer in his insurance business office. In a twist at her sentencing, Wright divulged that her business partner had tricked her into believing she was a secret operative investigating sexual deviance.

Prosecutors didn't buy Wright's story, saying investigators continue to believe the 30-year-old Wright was "a willing participant" in the prostitution business.

Detailed records over an 18-month period indicated Wright made $150,000 tax-free. She also collected more than $40,000 in welfare benefits, prosecutors said.

Strong, a 58-year-old married father of two, acknowledged having an affair with Wright and helping her start the fitness studio but said he didn't profit from the prostitution. He was convicted of 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution and sentenced to 20 days in jail.

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