The Zumba fitness instructor who pleaded guilty in March to operating a prostitution ring out of her dance studio in the seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine, was sentenced Friday morning to 10 months in jail, capping off a case that captured international attention.
Alexis Wright, 30, was sentenced nearly fifteen months after police raided her business and seized a cache of evidence, including meticulous client rosters and video footage of dozens of sexual encounters with local men. She was charged with 20 misdemeanor counts in March, including prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion, and theft by deception, according to a court document obtained by the Portland Press Herald. At the sentencing hearing, Wright’s attorney said her client endured a traumatic childhood in which she was the victim of sexual abuse, according to The Associated Press. A reportedly tearful Wright told the judge that she plans to work with women with histories of abuse when she’s released from jail.
“It’s my intention to stand up for what is right. When I’m out, I’m going to pursue helping people fight through situations that are similar to mine. I’m optimistic that something good will come out of this,” Wright said Friday, according to the AP.
Prosecutors offered Wright a plea deal in March, under which they dropped the vast majority of the charges and allowed her to sidestep a potentially embarrassing – and costly – trial, according to the Bangor Daily News. Prosecutors said that Wright kept detailed ledgers showing she made $150,000 over 18 months through prostitution while simultaneously netting upwards of $40,000 in public assistance. Prosecutors are seeking restitution of $57,280, according to The Associated Press. Mark Strong, a 57-year-old insurance agent and Wright’s alleged business partner in the prostitution ring, was convicted of 12 counts of promotion to commit prostitution and one count of conspiracy to commit prostitution on March 6, according to NBC station WLBZ. Prosecutors said Strong helped Wright orchestrate a prostitution racket out of her business in Kennebunk, a tiny New England town just a short drive away from President George H.W. Bush’s summer compound. Strong – a married father of two – was sentenced to 20 days in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine on March 21, according to WLBZ. His sentence was later reduced by five days for good behavior.