Robert Kraft, the owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, was charged last week with two counts of soliciting prostitution, according to a Palm Beach, Florida state attorney. (RT.com)
Kraft, who is 77, was allegedly caught on video tape receiving manual and oral sex from a worker at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. This occurred on the morning of the Patriots’ AFC Championship game with the Kansas City Chiefs, which he went to later that day.
According to documents that were released by the Palm Beach State Attorney’s office, Kraft visited the spa twice in 24 hours. Kraft was seen on video soliciting prostitution at the spa on Jan. 19, with the videotaped sex offenses taking place during the second visit in the morning the next day. Thus, Kraft was charged with two counts of first degree solicitation, which are misdemeanors in Florida.
It is expected that Kraft will be arrested with a lower level warrant and a court date was set for April 24. If he is found guilty, Kraft could face a jail sentence in Florida of up to a year and a fine of $5000, with 100 hours of community service. (ESPN.com)
In a statement at the end of last week, when the nature of the charges first came out, a spokesperson for Kraft issued a denial that the Pat’s owner had engaged in illegal activity.
Kraft Arrest Part of Sex Trafficking Crackdown in Florida
The Kraft arrest was part of a major crackdown on the sex trafficking trade in Florida. In addition to the Kraft arrest, hundreds of other arrest warrants were issued, including dozens of others in Palm Beach County. These warrants were issued at the end of a six month investigation and it is expected more will be issued in the coming weeks. So far, 10 spas have been shut down spanning from Palm Beach to Orlando. Several more people who were charged with sex trafficking have been arrested and charged.
Another well-known businessman, former Citigroup President John Havens, 62, also was charged with soliciting prostitution at the same spa that Kraft frequented. He has also denied any wrongdoing. Havens was the president of Citigroup in 20122 and 2012, and today he runs a hedge fund that is related to Citigroup.
Sex Parlors Were Investigated by Police for Months
Law enforcement investigated the sex parlors for several months. They collected evidence for the arrests via interviews, observations, searching trash bins and video surveillance of the owners. Judges then provided the police with warrants so they could install cameras in the spas to record what was going on during the sessions.
During last week’s press conference, law enforcement steered the event away from focusing on Kraft and spoke more about the bigger issue of human trafficking. But it should be stressed that no human trafficking charges were filed against Kraft or any other defendants that have been charged.
Law enforcement noted that bigger picture is that in many cases, the prostitutes in such sex parlors often are victims themselves of sex trafficking. They are usually lured to the US with the promise of enjoying a good life. They then are often forced to live and work in a brothel doing sex acts on strangers.
Before the police raids started last week, most of the women who were living in the spas were not allowed by ownership to leave without being escorted. The fact that most of the women working there seemed to live on site is what caused the police to investigate.
Since July 2018 after a Florida Health Department employee alerted law enforcement to possible signs of human trafficking, the police suspected that more was going on at the spa than just facials and massages. These suspicions were enhanced by the first police investigation that revealed an entirely male client base, as well as online postings that the spa was a ‘rub and tug’ operation.
Police then asked the Florida Health Department to do a regular inspection of the spa. The department dispatched one of its inspectors to the business in November 2018. She told the department and then the police that the spa had two rooms with beds, sheets and pillows. There also were dressers that had inside clothing and medicine. There also was a refrigerator with food and condiments. These findings led the Health Department and the police to conclude that women were living in the business, which is a red flag for potential sex trafficking. (CNN.com).
NFL Issues Statement on Kraft Arrest
The NFL stated this week that it would handle the Kraft matter just as it would any other issue that comes up under the NFL’s conduct policy. The NFL added that the personal conduct policy of the league applies the same to everyone who is in the NFL, including ownership. It added that the allegation would be handled the same way it would handle the matter of a player had been accused of the crime.
The league also said it is looking to gain a full understanding of all the facts, and ensuring that the NFL does not in anyway interfere with a law enforcement investigation that is ongoing. It said that it would take action if warranted based upon the facts that come out. It is possible that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could either suspend or fine Kraft. A suspension would keep Kraft away from any activities related to the New England Patriots for a period of time that is yet to be determined.
- Jupiter Day Spa Living Conditions. (2019). Retrieved from ttps://www.cnn.com/2019/02/25/us/jupiter-florida-day-spa-living-conditions/index.html
- Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Officially Charged with First Degree Solicitation of a Prostitute. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26078163/patriots-owner-robert-kraft-officially-charged-first-degree-solicitation-prostitute
- Robert Kraft Charged with Soliciting Prostitution. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.rt.com/sport/452443-robert-kraft-charged-soliciting-prostitution/