KENNEBUNK, ME - The lawyer for a high school hockey coach who gave up his job because of the Zumba prostitution case said Thursday that his client's name never should have been made public and contended law enforcement agencies have engaged in "reckless and outrageous behavior."
Gary Prolman, who represents Don Hill, said he finds it "revolting" that Hill felt compelled to give up the job he loved because of the unproven charge that he engaged a prostitute.
"I used to think that in the United States you were innocent until proven guilty and you don't lose everything because of an accusation. I guess that's all changed now," Prolman said. "I'm pretty disgusted with the whole judicial process right now."
Hill's was among the first 21 names of accused johns to be released by police investigating a dance instructor accused of turning her Zumba studio into a brothel.
After his name appeared on the list, Hill, 52, told officials at Kennebunk High School that he wouldn't seek to renew his contract after 14 years as head coach.
Hill has no criminal record and he's been divorced for years, the lawyer said.
The dance instructor, Alexis Wright, has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges. Police say Wright kept "meticulous" records and a client list that lawyers involved in the case said includes more than 150 names, including those of prominent figures.
Wright, 29, was previously described as a single mom. But she's married and lives with her husband and a child from another relationship, said her lawyer, Sarah Churchill.
Also charged is Mark Strong Sr. of Thomaston, who pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor counts including promoting prostitution and violating the privacy of men who were allegedly videotaped without their knowledge.
Strong, an insurance agent and private investigator, said in a statement through his attorney that he did not engage in any criminal activity.
He said he helped Wright launch her Pure Vida studio by co-signing for her lease and loaning money that was repaid with interest. He also said they had a personal relationship but that he never paid for sex.
"The charges against me are untrue," Strong said in the written statement. "I have made some bad choices but have broken no laws."
A lawyer for two of the accused johns went to court to keep the names confidential because many of them could be victims of invasion of privacy, a crime for which victims' identities are kept confidential in Maine.
The judge initially allowed names but not ages or addresses to be made public, causing confusion because many innocent men shared the same names as the accused. The judge later allowed the full identities to be made public. The list included a former mayor, a lawyer and several businessmen, in addition to Hill.
Prolman called the judge's ruling "ridiculous" and described the amount of state resources thrown into the case to be "outrageous."
"There's got to be drug rings, murder cases or other things that are a hell of a lot more important than this," the attorney said.