Privacy Law

Secretly taping johns is not a privacy violation, state's top court says

Maine’s top court has upheld the dismissal of 46 charges against a businessman accused of taping a prostitute’s sexual encounters, holding that the johns have no reasonable expectation of privacy under a state law banning recording in private places.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the invasion of privacy charges against Mark Strong in a decision (PDF) on Friday. He was accused of videotaping people who paid to have sex with dance instructor Alexis Wright, who his was his business partner in a Zumba dance studio in Kennebunk. He still faces accusations that he promoted prostitution.

“Places of prostitution and people who knowingly frequent them to engage a prostitute are not sanctioned by society,” the court said. “Accordingly, it is objectively unreasonable for a person who knowingly enters a place of prostitution for the purpose of engaging a prostitute to expect that society recognizes a right to be safe from surveillance while inside.”

The Bangor Daily News and NBC News covered the decision. Jury selection in the case is expected to resume this week, the Bangor Daily News reports in a separate story.

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