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Former South Portland mayor charged in Kennebunk prostitution case

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Former South Portland mayor charged in Kennebunk prostitution case

SOUTH PORTLAND — The lawyer representing former Mayor and City Councilor James A. Soule said he is uncertain how his client will plead after he was issued a summons for engaging a prostitute in Kennebunk.

Peter A. DeTroy said the public should be aware the summons given to Soule, 58, by Kennebunk police is the lowest on the scale of judicial severity. No longer considered a misdemeanor by the state, a Class E crime carries a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"Jim feels very badly because he knows how hard this may be for friends and family," DeTroy said.

Kennebunk Police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee said in a news release that Soule and 20 others identified by the department Monday are scheduled to appear in Biddeford District Court on Dec. 5.

The 21 men are among about 150 customers issued summonses as part of an investigation into an alleged prostitution operation at a Zumba studio in Kennebunk.

Studio owner Alexis Wright, 29, and Thomaston businessman Thomas Strong Sr., 57, were indicted this month by a York County grand jury on multiple counts of promoting and engaging in prostitution. Wright was also indicted on charges of tax evasion and theft by deception.

The summons lists Soule's address as Whitworth Drive, but Detroy said his client now lives in Florida. Soule is the owner of South Portland-based A-Best Window, but DeTroy said he is no longer involved in day-to-day operations of the business.

Soule served three, three-year terms on the South Portland City Council and was elected by councilors to serve three one-year terms as mayor. He was first elected in 1988. He last held office in 2009, then decided not to seek re-election to the District 3 seat now held by Councilor Rosemarie De Angelis.

Soule also served as campaign treasurer in Republican Peter Cianchette's 2002 failed gubernatorial election bid against former Gov. John Baldacci.

DeTroy said the "public spectacle" surrounding the release of the names overshadows the judicial severity of the alleged offense.

"It is basically a speeding ticket," he said, adding Soule can enter a guilty plea and pay a fine without making a court appearance.

In the meantime, DeTroy said he has advised Soule to see how the investigation and possible court cases proceed.

"At some point it will settle down," the attorney said. "We will see how things are and deal accordingly."

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.