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New England Patriots owner accused of soliciting prostitution

by Katherine Fernandez - copy editor
Tue, Mar 5th 2019 10:00 pm
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Winning history NFL owner Robert Kraft (left), is a billionaire who has seen a massive amount of success. However, recent allegations have tarnished his successful reputation.

Every time a celebrity scandal hits the airwaves, we often find ourselves thinking “If I was rich, I know I wouldn’t do anything like that to jeopardize my lifestyle.” 

Billions of dollars and a spotless reputation can be thrown away in an instant. Such is the case of Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.

The billionaire CEO has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation after an investigation by the Florida police into a spa in Jupiter, Florida, uncovered a prostitution ring.

The initial investigation into Orchids of Asia Day Spa launched in July 2018 when a health inspector reported to police that he suspected women were living inside the spa. The authorities also found posts on the internet insinuating the establishment offered more than just massages and facial treatments. 

On Nov. 14, 2018, the Florida Department of Health sent an inspector to the spa and reports following this visit stated there were two rooms that housed beds, pillows and dressers containing clothing. 

Investigators also discovered napkins covered in seminal fluid, credit card receipts and what appeared to be a torn up ledger in one of the nearby dumpsters. 

Detectives organized a sting operation, installing hidden cameras and setting up stakeouts to catch the men soliciting these services. Allegedly one of these men was Kraft, though he denies the charges. Kraft reportedly visited the spa twice within a 24 hour period, once on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 and again on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 20, the same day he attended the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City.

In a press release, Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg stated that “Rather than making this case about Kraft, society should be more focused on the lives of the victims who often don’t know they are being trafficked until it is already too late.”

“These cases aren’t about any one defendant or any group of defendants,” Aronberg said. “The larger picture, which we must all confront, is the cold reality  that too many prostitutes in cases like this are victims, often lured into this country with promises of a better life, only to be forced to live and work in a sweatshop or a brothel, subject to force, fraud or coercion.” 

The press release also states that if Kraft and the other 24 men involved are found guilty of solicitation, they could be facing up to one year in jail, 100 hours of community service, a $5,000 fee and an “educational program on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.” On February 28, Kraft pleaded not guilty to both misdemeanor counts through his lawyer.

Although he has not personally addressed the charges against him, Kraft's team has denied any involvement in the incident. 

“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” a spokesperson for Kraft said. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

 The Orchids of Asia Day Spa has not issued a statement at this time. The NFL has stated they are waiting for all of the facts to be presented before taking any actions. 

“Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL,” the organization wrote in an official statement on the situation. 

“We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while insuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”

A court date has been set for April 24, 2019. Kraft may not end up serving any jail time at all for his offense. Although he is not responsible for trafficking these women, he is not without guilt in this situation.Rather than being a patron of the illicit spa and contributing to the vicious cycle, Kraft should have reported the spa immediately. 

As for the victims, there is still a chance for them to make something better for themselves in their already damaged lives.