Living in Maine is definitely an experience at times, after all the total population of this entire state is less than the population of the city I was born and raised in. Maine in many ways is one big sleepy little town, where the degrees of separation are maybe three at best. While we aren’t completely in the sticks of society, most of Maine is still a place where you can’t find a meal after 10pm and bars close up way too damn early. It’s a place where despite being pretty unchurched, there is still an invisible and perhaps even puritanical code that governs most of the residents.
Which is why when the story broke several months ago of a possible prostitution ring in the small and well known town of Kennebunk (no, the Bushes are from Kennebunkport which is next door to Kennebunk) it caught everyone’s attention.
According to local media reports, Alexis Wright had set up a Zumba studio on Main Street in downtown Kennebunk, but according to police reports it was a front for prostitution. Which according to my babysitter who had actually been hired by Ms. Wright to teach hula hooping classes, it was the strangest Zumba/fitness studio she had ever seen; since in the couple of weeks she worked there, hardly anyone ever came to class. (Told y’all the degrees of separation aren’t six in this state).
Now Alexis wasn’t just running the ring, she was actually the talent too. Turns out she had a business partner, a fella by the name of Mark Strong who just happens to be among many things a private investigator. Allegedly they kept meticulous records of all the clients and also videotaped them too, apparently without their knowledge. Charges have been filed against Wright and Strong and Wright in addition to facing prostitution charges is looking at tax evasion (Capone people… gotta pay the tax man) as well as charges from fraudulently taking public benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid. Now obviously taping people without their consent is a no-no, I mean what was the plan? Blackmail? Even dumber was taking government benefits, I mean considering Alexis was the only worker and according to media reports they earned $150,000 over a two year period, how much money did she need?
The big thing though is that the list of alleged “johns” is going to be released and supposedly some pretty important folks in Maine are on this list and everyone is in an uproar. In Kennebunk, the schools are on alert, after all some poor kid may soon learn his daddy wasn’t too bright. Media here is going crazy with this story, for starters on the surface Alexis Wright looks like the girl next door albeit the sexy girl door. Then you add in her partner Wright, a well-known and respected businessman and people lose their minds, after all how do people like this end up involved with this sort of unsavory business? Sorry to tell ya, if there is one business that is probably recession proof, I am guessing it’s the sex business. People are going to fuck.
Now I have been told I am not quite “getting” the story by more than one Mainer on social media sites like Twitter. What is there to get? Yes, what they did was illegal and frankly while I think it sucks that 150 guys will probably be outed and their families will have to deal with the fallout. As long as we live in a society that is uptight about such issues, these things will happen.
Unless Strong forced Wright to do this which in that case is an entirely different issue and one I would have issues with, a woman choosing this path generally knows the risks she is taking. As for the johns, well they knew the risk too, they chose to contact this woman and engage in an illegal act.
Even if this list does turn up prominent men, I am not sure why this is worthy of all the attention this case is garnering especially now that the story has made the national news. Prominent men seeking the companion of sex workers isn’t new…Elliot Spitzer anyone? If anything this story tells me that Mainers are just like other people and sometimes that means doing things they ought not to do.
That said if you live in Maine and think there is more to this case than I am getting, please, enlighten me. I admit I think that healthy adult women should be free to choose sex work if that is what they want, however I don’t make the laws. In the end for the children and partners of the “johns” I am not sure if it really matters whether these men paid for sex or if they had chosen to save money and just have an affair, in the end it’s a violation of trust. Whether one’s partner steps out with a sex worker or Sally from the front desk, it’s humiliating and it hurts.