October 26, 2012

Hockey coach named on Kennebunk 'john' list resigns

Donald F. Hill, 52, leaves varsity hockey at Kennebunk High School, and a key defendant claims police charges are retaliation.

By Ann S. Kim akim@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

and David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A former hockey coach at Kennebunk High School said Wednesday that he is one of the 21 men charged as suspected “johns” of Zumba instructor Alexis Wright.

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Donald F. Hill

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Alex Wright

AP File Photo

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Donald F. Hill of 139 Union Ave., Old Orchard Beach, confirmed that he is on the list that police released this week. Hill, reached by telephone, also said he is no longer a hockey coach at the high school.

Hill, 52, declined to comment further and referred questions to his lawyer, Gary Prolman. Prolman did not return a call seeking comment.

The 21 men have been issued court summonses charging them with engaging a prostitute, a misdemeanor, in connection with a scandal that has drawn national media attention to Kennebunk.

Also Wednesday, a key defendant in the case accused Kennebunk police of charging him in retaliation because he investigated their department.

Mark Strong Sr. of Thomaston, who is charged with running the prostitution operation along with Wright, wrote in a statement distributed to the media that “the charges against me are untrue. I have made some bad choices but have broken no laws. If these charges are not dropped I will be vindicated in a jury trial which I have demanded be held as soon as possible.”

Strong has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanors in the case. He has been charged with violation of privacy, promotion of prostitution and conspiracy to commit those crimes.

Wright, 29, is accused of using her Zumba business in downtown Kennebunk, which she began in leased space in March 2010, as a front for prostitution and secretly filmed the encounters. Wright has pleaded not guilty to 106 charges, mostly misdemeanors but also three felonies related to taxes and receiving public assistance when ineligible.

According to a police affidavit, Wright kept “meticulous” records and a client list that lawyers involved in the case have said includes more than 150 names, including those of prominent figures.

It’s not clear how many more alleged “johns” will be charged. Prosecutors indicated in a letter to the court that they likely will charge many of them, and York County Deputy District Attorney Justina

McGettigan said earlier this month that authorities still had to interview more than 80 suspected clients.

In the meantime, police say they are continuing to issue summonses as investigators find probable cause on the charges and schedule times to serve the paperwork.

Hill is one of the 21 men identified so far as having received summonses. He told Kennebunk High’s athletics administrator Tuesday morning that he was not seeking reappointment for personal reasons, said Superintendent Andrew Dolloff.

Coaches for winter sports have not yet been appointed, Dolloff said. The season starts in mid-November and the school district has started advertising the hockey position.

Hill was an assistant coach from 1993 to 1998 and varsity coach from 1998 to 2012. Coaches are appointed annually, Dolloff said, but there’s an assumption that they will return each year, unless they tell school officials otherwise.

The school district does not have a formal policy regarding employees who face a criminal charge, Dolloff said.

“We have to look at every case on a case-by-case basis. Certainly in our hiring, we consider that to be very important, even for our volunteers. Anything more than a traffic violation is something we would take under advisement,” he said.

Dolloff sent a memo to the school staff in early October saying how the impending disclosure of the names could affect students. He said he didn’t know then that Hill was facing a charge in the case.

“I had no idea of any names on the list. I have been as much in the dark as anybody. We were really just trying to prepare for the eventuality that a student might be related” to someone who was charged, Dolloff said.

(Continued on page 2)

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