Patriots Owner Faces Charges of Soliciting Prostitute
JUPITER, Fla. -- Embattled New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has gone on the defensive, “categorically” denying he solicited sex at a South Florida day spa where police say he was videotaped twice in the act.
The 77-year-old billionaire -- whose team just brought home its sixth Super Bowl trophy -- faces two counts of soliciting sex from a prostitute. Kraft was one of two dozen men arrested in Jupiter where police said the alleged johns paid $59 for a half-hour and $79 for an hour at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” a spokesman for Kraft said in a statement sent to the Herald. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
Kraft was one of 170-plus arrested in a South Florida human trafficking and prostitution sweep that police said Friday saw women forced to work long hours and engage in oral and manual sex acts, according to a Jupiter police affidavit obtained by the New York Times.
Jupiter police Chief Daniel Kerr said the misdemeanor charges filed against Kraft stem from two separate alleged visits to the day spa in a strip mall. Kerr said the alleged acts were recorded on convert surveillance video.
“Obviously, our concern in this investigation centers around the possibility of victims of human trafficking,” Kerr said at a press conference Friday. He added his department is working with “advocacy groups” in the region to assist with the women -- some who came from China via New York and down to Florida.
Kerr said the spa was one of 10 shut down in the monthslong investigation.
The video, Jupiter police Detective Andrew Sharp said, is a key part of the probe.
“The question was, does the video contain Mr. Kraft inside receiving the alleged acts. The answer to that is yes,” Sharp said at the press conference.
Kerr said a warrant for Kraft’s arrest is with the state’s attorney’s office and will be sent to Kraft’s home in Brookline.
“We have two,” Kerr said of the two counts of soliciting against the Patriots owner. “Two different visits. ... We’re as equally stunned as everybody else.”
The NFL issued a brief statement, saying the league is “aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
Gov. Charlie Baker said he “finds these allegations deeply disturbing and condemns all acts of sexual exploitation.” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office declined to comment.
Martin County, Fla., Sheriff William Snyder said earlier this week the women working at the spa cooked on the back steps, slept in the massage parlors and on massage tables, and had no access to transportation.
“These women were brought here on planes.They had some paperwork. Some just responded to ads for massage spas. They are all Chinese,” said Jupiter Police Officer O’Neil Anderson, spokesman for the department. He added the spa workers saw seven to eight johns a day.
“We have not found any juveniles,” Anderson added. “Kraft was a shock. It was really just a shock to have a human trafficking ring working out of a store front in quiet Jupiter.”
He said more arrests are expected. Those already charged range in age from the 30s to 80s.
Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994 for a record $175 million, keeping the team in Foxboro and growing his investment to an estimated $3.8 billion
Sally Apgar in Jupiter, Fla., contributed to this report.