The owner of American football team the New England Patriots is facing charges of soliciting prostitution at a spa, according to reports.
Robert Kraft was charged today (February 22) with two counts of soliciting prostitution, in connection with a spa in Florida that reportedly has ties to an international human trafficking ring.
The NFL owner was charged with ‘paying for sexual services’ at the spa, called Orchids of Asia Day Spa, in Jupiter, southeast Florida.
Orchids of Asia Day Spa was one of 10 facilities shut down in the Orlando area, according to Treasure Coast News.
An investigation, carried out over a number of months, found that women in the spas were in ‘sexual servitude’, according to the police report, and that the acts were captured on surveillance cameras.
A spokesperson for 77-year-old Robert Kraft said, via the New York Post:
We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 22, 2019
Kraft is apparently one of 20 individuals being charged in the police investigation, with police claiming to have video evidence against ‘all of the individuals being charged’, CNN reports.
The investigation into the spa began in October last year, with surveillance footage revealing a ‘steady stream’ of male clients staying for between 30 minutes to an hour.
Detectives found that the women who worked there, a number of them from China, also lived in the building and were not allowed to leave. Police reportedly found napkins coated in semen in a dumpster outside, as condoms were rarely used, according to the report.
The 58-year-old owner of the spa, Hua Zhang, was arrested and charged with ‘deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, keeping and frequenting a house of prostitution, and 26 counts of procuring for prostitution’.
Kraft bought the New England Patriots in 1994 for $172 million. Since then, the team has played in 10 Super Bowls and won six championships, including this year’s Super Bowl LIII.
The 77-year-old was named by Forbes as the 79th wealthiest person in the world. He is CEO of The Kraft Group, a holding company which invests in numerous businesses from sports to real estate, and is reportedly a close friend of Donald Trump.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.