Robert Kraft, the longtime owner of both the New England Revolution and New England Patriots, has been charged by Florida law enforcement with soliciting prostitution.
During a news conference Friday morning, the Jupiter Police Department said Kraft was one of 25 people identified as part of a six-month sting operation investigating human trafficking and sex acts at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Police chief Daniel Kerr said Kraft has been charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution and that he is allegedly on video at the day spa.
A New England Revolution spokesperson referred Pro Soccer USA to an earlier statement put out by a Kraft aid after not immediately replying to a request for comment. Kraft’s spokesperson said, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”
Jupiter is situated on Florida’s eastern coast, roughly 170 miles from Bradenton, where the Revolution are currently finishing up preseason.
The spa, which is believed to be tied to an international human trafficking ring, is one of 10 shut down as part of the sting.
Major League Soccer also did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Pro Soccer USA about whether Kraft could face discipline from the league. The National Football League, however, has disciplined franchise owners in the past, as has the National Basketball Association.
MLS did say the following, however, on Friday night: “Major League Soccer is aware of reports regarding the case in Florida and will continue to follow any developments.”
Kraft helped establish Major League Soccer as owner of the Revolution since both were founded in 1996. His connections inside the NFL as owner of the Patriots also contributed to the hire of MLS commissioner Don Garber, a former NFL marketing executive.
The charges come just weeks after the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl and 10 days before the Revolution start their 2019 season.
A number of law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation and Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said Tuesday that up to 100 men are expected to face charges related to the trafficking and prostitution. Three women, all of whom are now in custody, have been identified as the alleged operators of the prostitution ring.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.