KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — A long-time high school hockey coach whose name appeared on a list of men accused of paying a local Zumba fitness instructor for sex has stepped down, the first known job loss associated with the scandal.
Kennebunk High School coach Donald Hill told school officials he wouldn’t seek to renew his contract for next season after 14 years as head coach, school Superintendent Andrew Dolloff said Wednesday. The coach cited personal reasons, Dolloff said.
Police on Tuesday released the names, ages and addresses of 21 men to receive summonses after being accused of engaging a prostitute, and many more names will be released in the coming weeks. A lawyer who’s seen the list said more than 150 people are suspected of being johns.
Hill, 52, was listed alongside a former mayor and several businessmen in southern Maine. Men from Massachusetts and New Hampshire also are on the list.
The coach, who’s from Old Orchard Beach, a few towns north of Kennebunk, didn’t immediately return a cellphone message seeking comment Wednesday. It was unclear if he is married or has a family.
Kennebunk, a town of about 10,000 residents known for its beaches, sea captain’s mansions and New England charm, was thrust into the media spotlight after 29-year-old Zumba instructor Alexis Wright was charged this month with engaging in prostitution in her dance studio and in an office across the street.
Police said Wright videotaped many encounters without her clients’ knowledge and kept meticulous records suggesting the sex acts generated $150,000 over 18 months.
Wright, from nearby Wells, has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges. Her business partner, 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator Mark Strong Sr., from Thomaston, has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges.
Local officials expected a big impact on the community.
Dolloff previously issued a memo to teachers and staff last week, instructing them to be on the lookout for students who have relatives on the list of names and may be teased or have trouble coping.
One of the players on the hockey team said Wednesday they were instructed not to talk to the media.
Team supporter Doug Oakman, who’s affiliated with the Kennebunk Ice Hockey Boosters, an organization that raises money for the team, lashed out when asked to comment about the coach’s departure, saying there are “more important things” to focus on.
Town residents who are growing weary of the attention can look forward to repeating the scenario several more times as names trickle out.
The police department plans to release the remaining names of john suspects every other week as they’re issued summonses. The next batch is due Oct. 26.
It will take months for all the summonses to be issued and for all the john suspects to have court appearances, police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee said.
Around town on Wednesday, people were still talking about “the list” and what other names might be on it. But some locals were fed up of the spotlight.
“People are definitely sick of all the news vans on Main Street,” said Travis Munroe, general manager of H.B. Provisions, a general store and deli.
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