BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey planned to donate campaign contributions he received from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida, to an organization that works to end human trafficking.
Markey received $3,600 in donations from Kraft during the Massachusetts Democrat’s first campaign for the Senate in 2013, according to federal campaign finance data.
The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that Markey planned to make an equivalent contribution to an anti-trafficking group.
“Sexual exploitation in all of its forms is reprehensible,” Markey said in a statement. “These allegations are very alarming, and I have confidence that the authorities will be investigating this matter fully to get to the truth.”
Kraft, who pleaded not guilty last month to two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution, has denied wrongdoing and requested a nonjury trial in the case, according to a court filing.
He was among hundreds of men charged in a crackdown on massage parlor prostitution and an investigation into human trafficking at Florida spas. Ten spas have been closed, and several people, mostly women originally from China, have been charged with running the operation.
None of the men charged have been linked to human trafficking.
Police allege Kraft was videotaped engaging in sex acts during two visits to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa on consecutive days in January.
The Patriots owner is a lifelong Democrat but has made donations in the past to Republicans, including U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, John Cornyn of Texas, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the Globe reported.
Kraft is a friend of President Donald Trump, and his company, Kraft Group LLC, contributed $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2016.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, announced recently he would donate a $5,400 contribution he received in 2015 from John W. Childs, the founder of a Massachusetts-based private equity firm who was also among those accused of soliciting prostitution in the Florida investigation, to groups in Ohio that support victims of sex trafficking.
Childs has denied the allegations.