JUPITER, Fla. (WPRI/AP) — The owner of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots is one of more than two dozen men named in a prostitution sting in Florida.
Police in Jupiter announced that an arrest warrant will be issued for Robert Kraft, 77, on misdemeanor charges including soliciting a prostitute.
Police said Kraft’s name is on the list of 25 people who will face charges in connection to a crackdown on human trafficking and spa sex acts at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
Police say they have Kraft on video paying for a sex act inside an illicit massage parlor.
A spokesperson for Robert Kraft has released the following statement:
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
Kraft’s Patriots won the Super Bowl in Atlanta earlier this month.
According to Forbes, Kraft is worth $6.6 billion. He bought the New England Patriots for $172 million in 1994 and turned it into a $3.7 billion franchise with six Super Bowl wins.
Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said he was shocked to learn Kraft, was paying for sex inside a strip-mall massage parlor, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.
“We are as equally stunned as everyone else,” Kerr said.
The NFL didn’t have much to say about the incident, only releasing the following statement:
“The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments.”
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, which would prosecute the case, had no comment.
Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. He is a frequent guest of President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club. Though a Democrat, he is friendly with Trump.
Kraft’s wife Myra Hiatt died in 2011. He has been dating 39-year-old actress Ricki Noel Lander since 2012.
The NFL did not immediately respond to a message Friday seeking comment. Under league policy, players, owners, coaches and other employees can be punished for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.
“Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations of Personal Conduct Policy occur,” the policy says.
Most people charged for the first time for soliciting a prostitute in Florida are allowed to enter a diversion program, said attorney David Weinstein, a former prosecutor. Kraft would probably have to perform 100 hours of community service and pay to attend an educational program about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking, he said.
Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey, whose agency has been involved in the investigation, told reporters earlier this week that the prostitutes are victims who have been trapped into the trade.
“These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can’t leave and they are performing sex acts,” Currey said, according to TCPalm. “Some of them may say tell us they’re OK, but they’re not.”