A Boston nonprofit focused on ending commercial sexual exploitation that has benefited from Robert Kraft’s philanthropy says it is “heartbroken” by the criminal allegations facing the New England Patriots owner.
Police in Florida said on Friday that the billionaire businessman and 6-time Super Bowl champion is being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution at a local spa during two separate visits.
A Kraft spokesperson has denied he “engaged in any illegal activity.”
Hours after that news broke, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, executive director of My Life My Choice, said in a statement “the buying and selling of human beings is an egregious form of abuse. We are heartbroken by the allegations about Robert Kraft.”
She added, “The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation has supported My Life My Choice in the past. We will await additional information before commenting further.”
In an ESPN video that ran during a 2016 awards show, Goldblatt Grace hailed Kraft for donating $100,000 to the group. Kraft was being honored with an award for helping disadvantaged people at the time. A spokesman for My Life My Choice confirmed that donation on Friday.
Deadspin first reported the donation in the light of the charges facing Kraft on Friday.
Kraft’s philanthropy has made headlines in recent years. He is known to make six-figure contributions to a multitude of Boston-area nonprofits.
In 2015, for instance, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation gave $3.4 million to a vast assortment of causes including cancer research, help for the homeless, feeding the hungry, promotion of the arts, and education, according to financial documents.
My Life My Choice offers a mentorship program that pairs “exploited youth or youth suspected of being exploited with an adult female survivor of the commercial sex industry.” The group also provides intensive case management and has programs that build community, according to its website.
As part of an investigation into international human trafficking, hidden surveillance cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla., recorded Kraft engaging in a sex act with a prostitute during two alleged visits to the club between Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, law enforcement authorities said Friday.
In Jupiter, police described Kraft as one of 25 men who will face charges in Palm Beach County as a result of the investigation. They said an arrest warrant will be issued for the 77-year-old on two misdemeanor counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution.