New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, one of the most powerful men in American football, was charged today on two counts of soliciting prostitution in connection to a recent law enforcement bust on massage parlors in Florida that, according to law enforcement, were used for prostitution and human trafficking. The news comes a few weeks after the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl and days after Kraft appeared at the NBA All-Star game.
In a press conference Friday morning, Jupiter Police chief Daniel Kerr said Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution, and that a warrant for his arrest is with the state’s attorney’s office and will be sent to Kraft’s home in Massachusetts. Kerr said there is video evidence of Kraft involved in sex acts in a massage parlor on two occasions. Twenty-five people total were charged with soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia spa in Jupiter.
Answering a questions about the fees at Orchids of Asia, Jupiter Police Detective Andrew Sharp, the lead detective on the case, said the fee for 30 minutes was $59 dollars, or $79 for an hour. He did not specify what Kraft paid. He said Kraft was driven to the spa.
According to public records, Kraft owns a home at The Breakers, a luxury resort in Palm Beach, about 20 miles south of Jupiter. In a statement issued to media outlets, a spokesman for Kraft said, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
According to TCPalm.com, the investigation shut down spas that ran from Palm Beach County to Orange County. Of those 10, half were in Indian River County. Speaking about the cases out of Indian River, police said that the women lived at the spas and worked as prostitutes. From TCPalm’s report:
[Vero Beach police chief David] Currey said many came from China on temporary work visas, indebted to the the brokers who helped them reach America, but believing legitimate jobs awaited them.
“Some of them are trying to make a better life for themselves,” he said. “These people truly are stuck.”
They were shamed, intimidated and taught not to speak to law enforcement or immigration officials.
Others answered what they thought were legitimate ads for masseuse jobs, but soon were pressured into doing more.
Another four spas, according to a separate TCPalm report, were in Martin County. A fifth case was in the town of Jupiter. A 16-page probable cause affidavit in the Jupiter case said that as part the investigation officers would do traffic stops on vehicles when they left the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. The affidavit states that officers were told multiple times by the drivers that, inside the spa, a woman had stimulated their penis until climax.
The success and prominence of the Patriots have made Kraft one of the most powerful people in the sport, and he’s taken on a significant role in the league’s labor negotiations. And despite 2015—when Kraft wielded his weight in opposition of NFL’s league leadership after Tom Brady and a couple staffers were accused of deflating game balls, leading to the team being docked a pair of draft picks and fined—he has more often than not given key vocal support to the league’s alternately boring and embarrassing commissioner Roger Goodell.