New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is accused of soliciting prostitution at a Florida spa with alleged ties to an international human trafficking ring.
Authorities say they have video of Kraft, 77, paying for a sex act inside an illicit massage parlor and have charged him with two counts of soliciting prostitution.
Jupiter police told reporters Friday that Kraft hasn’t been arrested. A warrant will be issued and his attorneys will be notified.
The charge comes amid a widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in the area surrounding Palm Beach County. About 200 arrest warrants have been issued in recent days and more are expected. The spa that Kraft allegedly solicited prostitution at, Orchids of Asia Day Spa, is one of 10 shut down in the area, according to Florida outlet TC Palm.
The shutdown came after a months-long investigation showed that women working at the spa were in "sexual servitude," according to arrest records obtained by TC Palm. Women, some of whom were from China, allegedly lived in the spa and were not allowed to leave. The spa’s owner, Hua Zhang, 58, has been charged with deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, keeping and frequenting a house of prostitution and 26 counts of procuring for prostitution, according to TC Palm.
"We're as deeply stunned as anyone else,” Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr told WPTV in West Palm Beach regarding the arrest of Kraft.
During a press conference on Friday, Kerr said that advocacy groups will be helping the victimized sex workers.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Kraft said they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” according to ESPN.
Kraft is a longtime seasonal resident of Palm Beach County.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl earlier this month in Atlanta.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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