Thursday, April 25, 2002

House near school billed as sex club

Published in the Current; co-written with Brendan Moran

A house next to the Blue Point Elementary School on Pine Point Road in Scarborough was advertising itself on the Web as a swingers club known as Club Vision until February, when the owners of the home and police found out about it.

Once the club closed, it began using its web site to encourage patrons to use other clubs in the area, including another home-based club called Wildflower’s in Scarborough and a commercial lounge in Lewiston.

The owners of the home at 170 Pine Point Road, Philip and Kathleen McKay, have filed eviction proceedings against the former tenants, identified as Adam Goodwin and Jen Kole, who have moved out. According to court documents, no one appeared on behalf of the tenants to contest the eviction. The Current was unable to find phone numbers for Goodwin and Kole, who have apparently moved out of Scarborough. A toll-free number listed on the web site was disconnected. An e-mail to an address on the site didn’t get a reply.

Police began investigating activity at the home after the McKays reported it to them. They later dropped the investigation after the tenants moved out.

Police Chief Robert Moulton said his department would only be interested in possible criminal activity, such as the illegal sale of liquor or prostitution, and none was found. “We haven’t had any information come forward that there was any big violations,” he said.

Activity occurred at night, and the principal of the Blue Point School, Susan Helms, said she didn’t know anything about the house next door and hadn’t heard any complaints from parents.

The police and owners were unaware of a web site devoted to the club, www.clubvisionmaine.com, and another swingers club in Scarborough that the site refers to. Swinging is commonly known as partner swapping.

The site, which is registered to Goodwin, says the club is closed and looking for a new location to expand. It says the club plans to re-open in late spring. While the club was closed, the site recommended patrons go to another club in Scarborough known as Wildflower’s and a club in Lewiston.

E-mails on an Internet group for swingers indicated Wildflower’s was located at an address on Broadturn Road. But a woman who answered the door at the residence denied the home was being used as a swingers club.

The club in Lewiston and the two clubs in Scarborough are the only clubs in Southern Maine, according to e-mails on Internet groups for swingers.

According to its website, “Club Vision is Maine’s premier couples club, located near Portland.”

The web site reads, “We are a full on premises club that is very discreet and professional. We are a BYOB club, so you don’t have to worry about expensive drink prices. There will be a hot and cold buffet served,
non-alcoholic drinks will be provided.”

It also cautions guests to be courteous and understand they have the right to say “no” at any time. “Do not allow yourself to become sexually involved with anybody that you are not interested in. You are in the lifestyle to enjoy yourself, so only do what you want, when you want and with whom you want.” The site goes on to advertise a hot tub, pool table, private rooms and a lounge area.

The McKays, who live in New Hampshire, confirmed that they found out about the swingers club from a neighbor and alerted police.

But they declined to comment because of their ongoing eviction suit, which was filed on Feb. 20.

The suit alleges Goodwin and Kole, who moved into the house in October, broke the rental agreement by making unauthorized alterations to the house and running a business in the home.

According to court documents, Goodwin and Kole allegedly installed a gas heating system, new flooring and a hot tub in the garage.

In the McKays’ complaint they allege, “Defendants have breached Maine law and local ordinance by construction of alterations to the premises and the conduct of a business in the premises…Defendants are operating a nightclub/singles bar and facility in the home,” the suit read.

A neighbor who asked not to be identified said he had heard the neighbors working in the garage late at night and saw them bringing furniture in and out of the house. He never met Goodwin or Kole and said he assumed they had made arrangements with the landlord to renovate the house.

During the fall and winter, he said the tenants were throwing parties four or five nights a week. He would often hear music coming from the home until late at night. One night during the winter, he looked out the window and saw two women in negligees carrying what looked like two bottles of wine walking from the garage to the house. “They weren’t going to bake cookies. That was for sure,” he said.

The Current first learned of neighborhood concerns when a woman who identified herself as the mother of a Blue Point Elementary School student called to say there was a swingers club being operated next to the school.

Robert McGinley, the founder of the National Swing Club Association, estimated there are 400 active swing clubs and many more private homes that have swinging parties nationally. He also estimated there are 10,000 swinging couples in the U.S. The association defines swinging as sexual contact with someone other than a person’s partner or spouse, with that partner’s consent.

“The lifestyle is a rapidly emerging economic powerhouse,” said McGinley, with events like the July 2001 Annual Lifestyles Convention in Las Vegas, which was sponsored by major resorts and airlines.

“It attracts couples that really have it together as a relationship,” said McGinley, who also has a degree in the psychology of human sexuality.

Partners who swing are typically open and honest with each other, which is “not typical of a so-called traditional marriage.”

“Swinging is not just sex. It’s the freedom to be with people you enjoy,” he added.

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