Palm Beach, FL – The owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots was caught on video soliciting and having sex with prostitutes in a Jupiter massage parlor where women were being held captive, according to police.
Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr announced misdemeanor charges against Patriots owner Robert Kraft at a press conference on Friday morning.
“We’re as equally stunned as everybody else,” Chief Kerr told reporters.
He said that the 77-year-old Kraft was being charged with two counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution after he was caught doing so on video on two separate occasions.
“The video that we obtained, it shows the act that took place…” Palm Beach Police Detective Andrew Sharp told reporters definitively.
The charges come after authorities raided the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter on Tuesday.
TCPalm reported that Orchids of Asia was only one of 10 massage parlors that were shut down in Palm Beach County, and other nearby counties, after a months-long investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies.
Police surveillance revealed a busy spa with a clientele of male customers who visited for 30 and 60-minute periods between 9 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Detectives also learned that the women who worked in the spa also lived there, and were not allowed to leave, TCPalm reported.
Many of the trapped women are from China.
According to the police affidavit, at least three women told investigators they were forced to live in the small shop inside the strip mall and work in deplorable conditions, WBZ reported.
Police arrested the spa’s owner, 58-year-old Hua Zhang, according to TCPalm.
Zhang 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.
Det. Sharp said that police believe Kraft was a fairly regular customer of the massage parlor.
Police conducted surveillance on the day spa from Jan. 18 through Jan. 22, and Kraft visited twice during that time period, despite the fact he was also away in Kansas City for the playoffs on Jan. 20.
Det. Sharp said Kraft was chauffeured to the Orchids of Asia on the two occasions he was filmed soliciting and having sex with the prostitutes.
Kraft’s driver will not be charged in connection with his employer’s crimes, the detective said.
He would not say with what or how much Kraft had paid for the women’s sexual services.
“It appears when you go to the spa for a half hour the fee would be $59, for an hour that would be $79,” the detective said, but he would not elaborate on the details of tips or additional fees.
The detective refused to expand on what specific acts the Patriots’ owner was filmed doing or receiving, and referred to the charging affidavit.
“The question was does the video contain Mr. Kraft inside receiving the alleged acts – the answer to that is yes,” he clarified.
Chief Kerr told reporters that because Kraft is not a resident of Florida, a warrant for his arrest would be issued after the charging documents were filed by the state’s attorney’s office.
Kraft is a long-time seasonal resident of Palm Beach, TCPalm reported.
He is facing up to a year in jail, probation, or fines for the two misdemeanors.
“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further,” a spokesman for Kraft said in a statement.
Kraft, who bought the New England Patriots for $172 million in 1994, could also be in trouble with the National Football League’s (NFL) personal conduct policy, WBZ reported.
The Patriots have played in 10 Super Bowl games – and won six of them – under Kraft’s ownership, TCPalm reported.