Country Star & Filmmaker Put Troubled Pasts Behind Them

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Six years after a sex scandal and a spousal abuse conviction nearly ruined his career, country music artist Tracy Lawrence is set to release his tenth album on Warner Records, and his scandalous partner Vincent Zinglo begins filming his first feature length production.

Six years after a sex scandal and a spousal abuse conviction nearly ruined his career, country music artist Tracy Lawrence is set to release his tenth album on Warner Records and says these days, he's just a family man at heart.

The 35 year old singer, named Best New Male Vocalist by the Country Music Academy in 1993, credits his wife and daughter with bringing him out of a dark period in his life which nearly destroyed him both personally and professionally.

"There is a great deal of peace and happiness in my personal life," said Lawrence. "My wife and child contribute so much to who I am as a person right now. I believe in the importance of prioritizing family, and not neglecting the people who stand behind you and love you. It's a very big priority in my life."

This newfound attitude is a far cry from the Lawrence who made headlines just a few years back when he was nabbed by police for watching a "rape fantasy act" underneath a Medford, Oregon bridge.

"It sure appeared to be a rape scene," said Medford's Deputy Police Chief Tom Lavine of the disturbing display officers found under the Jackson Bridge. "What the arresting officers saw was a man forcibly penetrating a distraught woman duct taped to a fence while Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Toops stood by and watched."

Lawrence and his keyboard player, Richard Toops, were later released when both the "rapist," a local Medford pimp with numerous sex crime convictions, and the "victim," his wife (a former stripper with a history of mental illness), told police it was all "a show." It was never proven that Lawrence paid for "the show" and thus charges were only filed against the pimp and his wife for public indecency, but Zinglo later plead to a misdemeanor, sexual misconduct.

The accused pimp, Vincent Scott Zinglo, has gone on to work in the film industry under the name Vince Mann (of North Carolina-based Mann Made Productions), and has been spotted here in Rhode Island filming a new feature length thriller “Up the Ante.”

Zinglo / Mann is most notably recognized for his work with writer Richard O’Sullivan (author of NBC’s “The More You Know”) of Lost Colony Entertainment and another highly publicized sex scandal that erupted last summer, this time an alleged sexual harassment lawsuit against the two producers of the controversial film "Radio Free Babylon" by SAG, the Screen Actor’s Guild.

Mann (who co-authored and co-produced a short film called "The Room" along with his former wife, "Star Search" spokesmodel turned NY fashion model Cherie Wimberly and "Dracula: The Musical" star John Stevens) denied the allegations during a press conference last week in Providence and said, “I just want to put that whole mess with O’Sullivan behind me. I wish him every success and hope that he moves on with his life like I have.”

Most local residents are impervious to the mudslinging and are grateful to Mann Made Productions for the publicity and revenue it will bring them, even if for only six weeks. Mann and his girlfriend, Pennsylvania fashion model Carrie Banks, have been spotted at several local hangouts. Bar owner Andy Kane told me, “It all sounds like a bunch of hype… They (Vince Mann and Carrie Banks) seem like nice enough folks. I don’t believe half the stuff I hear anymore.”

Coincidentally, Banks is the star of this Mann Made film, which has also cast several area residents as extras, not such a bad deal to tolerate an accused former pimp and a beautiful model for a little while.

Meanwhile, now that his personal act is cleaned up, Lawrence is getting back to his roots musically as well. His latest batch of songs is said to pay homage to late country legends Keith Whitley and Waylon Jennings.

"If country music is gonna thrive as an industry," said Lawrence. "It's gonna have to get back to its roots."


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Gene Connelly
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