(Gray News/AP) - Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Monday that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and other men caught in a sex trafficking sting could face up to a year in jail under first-degree misdemeanor solicitation charges against them, but that first-time offenders are “unlikely to get significant jail time.”
Aronberg said that there are diversion programs and classes available, and that the mandatory penalty includes a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.
“Just because the mandatory penalty is up to a year in jail doesn’t mean a person is going to get that,” he said at a press conference. “First-time offenders are very unlikely to get significant jail time, depending on the plea, their background, their conduct, all these considerations that come into play.”
According to the Associated Press, authorities also said Monday that Kraft was chauffeured in a 2015 blue Bentley to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa on the morning of the AFC Championship Game in January. It was his second trip to the parlor in fewer than 24 hours.
He attended that game in Kansas City later in the day.
Kraft was videotaped receiving oral and manual sex from a woman at the spa, whom he gave two bills, at least one of them a $100 bill.
According to the state attorney, the Patriots owner will not necessarily have to appear himself in court. His lawyer has been provided a summons, and can represent him in court whether or not he is present.
He would also not likely require a mugshot.
“When you get a summons in the mail, you generally do not get a mugshot,” Aronberg said, though he added it’s ultimately up to the police.
Aronberg tried to avoid speaking specifically about Kraft’s case and stressed the seriousness of the sting, which resulted in charges against 25 men in Palm Beach County, and of the larger issue of trafficking. A separate case in Indian River County, about an hour north, also resulted in charges against 171 men last week.
“It’s about time the country has a real conversation about human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery in our midst,” he said. “It’s 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.”
He said there was no specific targeting of Kraft over his high profile.
“There’s rich, poor, there’s young and old,” among the men charged, Aronberg said. “I don’t believe anyone was targeted for who they are.”
The NFL, meanwhile, says it will handle the sex solicitation case involving Kraft as it would any other issue under the league’s conduct policy.
The NFL said in a statement Monday its personal conduct policy “applies equally to everyone in the NFL” and it will handle “this allegation in the same way we would handle any issue under the policy.”
The league adds it is "seeking a full understanding of the facts" and does not want to "interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation." The NFL says it will "take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts."
Commissioner Roger Goodell could fine or suspend Kraft from any activities involving the Super Bowl champions.