ALFRED, Maine -- An insurance agent was convicted Wednesday of promoting a prostitution business centered at a Zumba studio, a scandal that generated a wave of prurient interest in a small coastal town.
Mark Strong Sr. was a full partner who controlled, supervised and managed Alexis Wright's prostitution business, prosecutors said.
Strong, 57, acknowledged having an affair with Wright and helping her open the studio but contended he didn't profit from her activities. His attorneys said he was a smitten lover who wanted to help the single mother.
Wright is awaiting trial and has pleaded not guilty.
Jurors deliberated for 4 1/2 hours before announcing that they had found Strong guilty of all 13 counts -- 12 of promoting prostitution and one of conspiracy. He showed no emotion as the verdict was announced. His wife leaned into his son and cried.
Strong was released on personal recognizance, and his sentencing was set for March 19. He faces a maximum possible prison term of 13 years, but he is unlikely to get that since he has no criminal record.
The scandal in Kennebunk, a seaside village known more for its sea captains' homes and beaches than crime, attracted international attention in the fall after it was reported that Wright's ledgers indicated she had more than 150 clients and made $150,000 over 18 months.
Authorities then sent the town abuzz with word that they would be charging each of the johns, though residents later grew weary of the media attention.
Strong contends he co-signed for Wright's studio and loaned her money that was repaid. But the defense said he never recruited johns or profited from Wright's business.