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Trafficking Sting Leads to Surprise Warrant for Patriots Owner

Robert Kraft charged with 2 counts of soliciting prostitution in Florida massage parlor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2019 11:54 AM CST
In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft walks on the field before the AFC championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(Newser) – More than two dozen people have been arrested in Florida, caught up in a human trafficking bust, and among them: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, NBC News reports. Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said Friday that Kraft was charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution, and that there's tape of the 77-year-old billionaire engaging in sex acts at the Orchids of Asia massage parlor and spa, per Deadspin. Although Kerr didn't confirm what Kraft allegedly paid, he said the rate for services at the spa ranged from $59 for 30 minutes to $79 for an hour. "We are as equally stunned as everyone else," said Kerr, referring to the idea of the billionaire owner paying for sex at what the AP describes as a "shopping-center massage parlor."

Officials say Kraft's two alleged visits happened about "a month ago," and that he was driven there by a chauffeur, reports TMZ. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Kraft, whose spokesperson tells the site: "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further." TCPalm notes the bust in Jupiter was part of a six-month investigation into 10 massage parlors, from the Orlando area into Palm Beach County, with police noting that "vulnerable" girls were lured to the spas, then coerced into working as prostitutes. In addition to any legal consequences, Kraft could face discipline from the NFL, notes USA Today. (Read more Robert Kraft stories.)

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