BOSTON - Police in Florida issued a summons Monday for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
The 77-year-old Kraft is facing misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, in Jupiter, Florida. Kraft, through his spokesman, has denied the charges.
Police say Kraft was at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in a strip mall, soliciting a prostitute, just hours before the AFC Championship game in January.
The charges follow a series of raids involving at least eight massage parlors on the east coast of Florida.
One busted business, allegedly run by Lan Yun Ma, is in Vero Beach, an hour north of the spa that Kraft allegedly visited.
The Worcester County District Attorney's office told Boston 25 News that Ma is the same woman who pleaded guilty in 2013 to using an Oxford therapeutic massage business as a front for a house of prostitution.
Ma was charged in 2013 with solicitation for prostitution and sexual conduct for a fee and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 3 years probation.
"This is not about lonely old men or victimless crimes. This is about enabling a network of criminals to traffic women into our country for forced labor and sex," said Florida prosecutor David Aronberg.
Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as a result of the six-month investigation in Florida, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people have been taken into custody on sex trafficking charges. Police confirmed Friday that Kraft was involved in the bust.
CNN obtained a statement from the NFL in regards to Robert Kraft and the league's personal conduct policy:
"Our Personal Conduct Policy applies equally to everyone in the NFL. We will handle this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the Policy. We are seeking a full understanding of the facts, while ensuring that we do not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We will take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts."
A new NFL statement on #Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s allegations of soliciting prostitution says the league is seeking “a full understanding of the facts” while not interfering with an ongoing investigation. Here it is in full: pic.twitter.com/8x1XMgen6T— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2019
There was no sign of Kraft at his Brookline home this weekend. TMZ captured video of Kraft leaving a pre-Oscars party in Beverly Hills, Calif., this weekend.
Authorities have not yet disclosed the dates they say Kraft visited the spa, but they say they obtained a warrant to conduct surveillance during a five-day period that began on January 18, a timeframe that includes the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl in Atlanta.
Valentin Rodriguez, a Harvard undergrad and a criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach, said last week that if the state's attorney decides to prosecute, Kraft may have to show up to be booked and fingerprinted.
Rodriguez added that because solicitation is a misdemeanor charge, Kraft may never appear in court.
"Our laws allow you to take a plea in absentia for that type of offense, and the local rules don’t require the presence of the actual defendant if it's waved by the attorney," Rodriguez said.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.