A year after day spa sex-for-pay crackdown, Robert Kraft and others still face charges
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft still faces prostitution charges nearly a year after he was arrested in a sweeping three-county sex-for-pay probe that involved police video recording hundreds of alleged sex acts by licensed massage workers.
Initially announced as a potential human sex-trafficking investigation — assertions authorities later backed away from — the day spa crackdowns sparked a national debate over privacy rights and the government’s ability to secretly video record citizens, while in pursuit of criminal charges.
Ultimately, prosecutors only leveled human trafficking charges against one spa operator in Vero Beach, Florida as part of a felony racketeering charge.
Jupiter (Florida) Police Department’s months-long surveillance of Orchids of Asia, a storefront spa Kraft, 78, visited twice, coincided with similar investigations revealed Feb. 19, 2019 by Martin and Indian River counties' law enforcement agencies.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates Jan. 21, 2018, after the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
The investigations culminated in the arrests of spa owners and workers, nearly 300 male clients and shuttered 10 massage businesses.
MORE: Hidden cameras, sex-for-cash & trash forages: How police solved Florida sex-trafficking cases
MORE: Who are the 264 men arrested in the February day spa crackdown?
Since then, 112 men in Martin and Indian River counties who faced misdemeanor prostitution charges opted to enter a pretrial diversion program, records show. Prosecutors in Palm Beach County said they were unable to confirm how many of the 25 spa customers arrested agreed to accept diversion deals.
The diversion program required paying $350 in investigation costs and attending a class on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking, according to Assistant State Attorney Nirlaine Smartt. When completed, charges are dropped.
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