Advocates for eliminating sex trafficking are urging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to undertake an investigation of the criminal charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and to "banish" him from the league if the results show that Kraft solicited sex at a Florida spa.
The request was made in a letter dated Tuesday and sent to Goodell at the NFL's New York offices that was signed by 19 survivors of sexual abuse and 60 organizations that fight sexual exploitation.
Prosecutors have offered a plea deal to Kraft and 24 other men in which charges would be dropped for soliciting prostitution, the Palm Beach State Attorney confirmed Tuesday. Kraft and the other men would have to review the evidence and admit they would have been proven guilty at trial, spokesman Mike Edmondon told The Associated Press.
"It's important for the NFL to recognize that those who buy people for sex engage in crimes of sexual coercion and violence," Lisa L. Thompson, vice president of policy and research at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation said in a statement. "Payment for sex is a raw manifestation of sexual coercion. Men who buy people for sex use money to gain power and exercise temporary sexual control over others -- typically women and girls. Further, we know that if men stopped purchasing people for sex, there would be no sex trafficking."
"For a team owner to engage in sexual exploitation is incompatible with the NFL's personal conduct policy. Accordingly, survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, along with other advocates for the eradication of sexual exploitation, call on the NFL to hold Robert Kraft accountable by banning him from NFL team ownership."
In February, authorities said that Kraft was videotaped twice paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. Kraft pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation. His court date is set for March 28.