New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited a Florida massage parlor for sex acts the night before and the morning of last month's AFC Championship Game, which he attended in Kansas City, authorities said Monday in documents charging him with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.
The 77-year-old Kraft was chauffeured to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in a 2014 white Bentley on the evening of Jan. 19, where police say they videotaped him engaging in a sex act and then handing over an undetermined amount of cash, Jupiter, Florida, police said in charging documents released by the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office.
Investigators said Kraft was back at the spa 17 hours later, arriving at the shopping center where the spa was located in a chauffeured 2015 blue Bentley, the documents said. He was videotaped engaging in sex acts before paying with a $100 bill and another bill, police said.
Kraft, whose team won the Super Bowl earlier this month, has denied wrongdoing.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Kraft will be issued a summons that is similar to a traffic ticket and assigned a day to appear in court. Most people charged for the first time with soliciting are eligible for a diversion program where they pay a small fine, perform 100 hours of community service, and attend a class where they learn about the dangers of prostitution and how it is often tied to human trafficking.
Kraft is one of hundreds of men charged in recent days as part of a crackdown on prostitution occurring in massage parlors between Palm Beach and Orlando. Ten spas have been closed.
Authorities investigated the parlors for months, gathering enough evidence through observation, interviews with men stopped leaving the spas, trash bin searches and surveillance of their owners. Judges then issued warrants allowing them to secretly install cameras inside the spas to record what transpired.
Aronberg steered a Monday news conference away from Kraft's specific case to the larger issue of human trafficking, though no human trafficking charges have been filed against Kraft or any of the other defendants connected to the massage parlors.
"The larger picture, which we must all confront, is the cold reality that many prostitutes in cases like this are themselves victims, often lured to this country with promises of a better life, only to be forced to live and work in a sweat shop or a brothel performing sex acts for strangers," Aronberg said.
Aronberg pointed out that Florida has particularly severe punishments for human trafficking and allows the workers to be treated as victims if they cooperate. He also said the federal government can offer visas for victims who are foreign nationals if they cooperate.
At least some of the people charged with operating the massage parlors were born in China and Chinese translators are being used to interview women connected with the businesses, according to court documents. Authorities have not said how many women worked at the parlors, where they are being housed since the spas' closures and where they are from.
Before raids began last week, most of the women were living in the spas and were not allowed to leave without an escort, police say.
This article was originally published on February 25, 2019.