Kennebunk, ME – A small, quiet New England town has been turned upside-down over a recent prostitution scandal that operated through a Zumba dance studio. Authorities have released a list of 21 men who allegedly paid the Zumba fitness instructor Alexis Wright for sex, and reports say that the full list is much longer.
The 29-year-old Zumba instructor arrived in the town of 10,000 in 2009 to teach the Columbian-inspired form of dance fitness, and is accused of turning the dance studio into a seedy brothel and secretly videotaping her encounters. “When she arrived here … she was this sort of wonderful, young single mom that was introducing this Zumba craze to the town,” local newspaper editor Laura Dolce told CBS News. “Pretty soon, though, people started to suspect there was a lot more going on there.”
Then, about a year ago, “We had gotten tips that there were videos online, pornographic videos, that were centered around the studio,” Dolce said.
Police say that more than 150 are suspected of being “clients” of the Zumba instructor, and that many were videotaped. A judge ordered that authorities release the names of the suspected clients, while concealing their ages and and addresses to protect community reputations of those involved. Residents have heard that the list includes lawyers, law enforcement officers, and other well-known community figures.
While The Huffington Post reports that some residents were immediately suspicious of Wright, others didn’t sense anything amiss with the Zumba instructor, even after taking her class. “She was so young,” said one resident. “She had a lot going for her. It’s a shame she was hanging out with these older men and getting money from them.”
Another resident expressed mixed feelings about the release of Wright’s clients’ names, reasoning that it will cause marriages to dissolve and reputations to be ruined. “I think it’ll cause a lot of hardship,” he said.
Still, another thinks that once all of the names are released and the Zumba instructor’s case has been closed, the town will move recover. “A year from now it won’t even be talked about, once it goes through the courts,” she said. “You’ve got to move on and go on with your lives.”
Wright is charged with 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy, and other charges. The Zumba instructor has pleaded not guilty to her role in the highly-publicized sex scandal.
Here’s a video report on the Zumba sex scandal, from our friends at Newsy: