2012-10-19 / Front Page

Former mayor is on ‘list’ of ‘johns’

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — James A. Soule, a former South Portland city councilor who was mayor of the city in 2008, is one of the men Kennebunk Police have summonsed on charges of engaging in prostitution with Alexis Wright, the Zumba instructor alleged to have been involved in a prostitution operation from her Kennebunk studio.

The Kennebunk Police Department released the names of the 21 men summonsed, including Soule, on Monday, Oct. 15. Each suspect is due to appear in Biddeford District Court Wednesday, Dec. 5. Engaging a prostitute is a Class E crime under Maine law, punishable by up to six months incarceration and a $1,000 fine.

The Kennebunk Police list Soule’s address at 23 Whitworth Drive in South Portland, but the city’s tax assessor database shows that Soule’s permanent address is now listed in Florida. Soule did not respond to phone messages left at either his home or his place of business, A-BEST Window, Inc. in South Portland.

Soule previously made news as South Portland mayor when he suggested in his 2007 acceptance speech that Maine be split into two states. He served two stints on the city council in District 3; first from 1988 to 1994 and again from 2006 to 2009.

Soule was the only suspect of the 21 charged so far from South Portland. The other men who received summons were: Gary D. Bahlkow, Jens W. Bergen, Norman P. Crepeau Jr., Joseph P. Cuetara, Kenneth A. Fairbanks, Donald F. Hill, Monie B. Hobbs Jr., David Kline, Robert R. Labonte, Dale P. Madore, Paul A. Main, Harry J. McMann, Kevin L. Pagliccia, Claude S. Palmer Jr., Philip K. Parker, Colin P. Powers, Clinton J. Ray, John D. Verreault, James P. White, and Peter M. Wormell Sr.

Police initially omitted addresses and ages for the suspected “johns” after Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Thomas D. Warren ruled Monday that information be protected.

Prosecutors charge Wright secretly taped her encounters without her clients’ knowledge.

In his ruling, Warren wrote, “Although there is no basis to withhold the names of the persons summonsed, there is no dispute that certain of the persons summonsed for engaging a prostitute are also potential victims of the criminal offense of invasion of privacy.”

But the following day, Tuesday, Oct. 17, Warren overturned that ruling after MaineToday Media, publisher of the Portland Press Herald, filed a motion to intervene.

“The fact that an individual may appear in records held by the town of Kennebunk in two different capacities— once 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,” wrote the Press Herald’s attorney, Sigmund Schutz of Preti Flaherty in Portland.

Less than 24 hours passed between the police department’s initial release of names and the release of addresses. But even in that time, speculation about potential suspects spread to those uninvolved in the prostitution operation.

Lisa White’s husband, James A. White, was away on business in New York City when the names were released. She said she returned to her home in Wells from a walk Tuesday morning to see a business card slipped under her door with a message from Steve Forrest, a producer at NBC, asking her to call.

“It’s really too bad because I have three kids in the school system,” Lisa White said. “I had to prepare my kids and say, ‘If anyone asks, just tell them it wasn’t daddy.’”

The names of those summonsed for engaging a prostitute will continue to appear with summonses for other crimes the department issues in its regular media release. The initial list was sent out separately only because litigation delayed its release.

Visit the Sentry’s website, www.mainelymediallc.com, for updates as this story unfolds.

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