Even billionaires can be caught in the net of widespread sex sting operation.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces charges of soliciting prostitution in Florida after he was snared in a widespread sex trafficking crackdown by authorities there.
Kraft, age 77, is among the hundreds of people named in arrest warrants as part of the month-long sex sting operation, which targeted patrons of a series of massage parlors and day spas suspected of providing prostitution.
Kraft reportedly twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, FL. Police used video surveillance to show Kraft paying for sex acts in a room at the spa. Through a spokesperson, Kraft has denied this.
Though he has not been arrested yet, Kraft has been charged with two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution, according to CNN News.
In Florida, these are second-degree misdemeanors with a punishment of a maximum of 60 days in a county jail. Convicted persons would also have to attend an awareness course on the harmfulness of human trafficking and prostitution, and they would have to complete 100 hours of community service.
Texas Prostitution Laws
Texas sex crime laws on soliciting prostitutes, even if no sex activity actually occurs, are more severe than those in Florida.
Under Texas Penal Code § 43.02 – 43.06, solicitation of prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor crime. Punishments include fines of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days.
When a person has at least one prior conviction, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, and punishments increase to fines of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year.
If the person being solicited for prostitution was under 18, even if the defendant didn’t know this, the crime becomes a second degree felony with punishments including fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of two to 20 years.
As in Florida, those convicted of soliciting prostitution in Texas also may be required to perform community service and to attend educational awareness classes.
Such crimes are taken especially seriously in Houston and Harris County, where more people have been arrested in recent years for soliciting prostitution than those arrested for being prostitutes.
Clearly, an experienced sex crime defense lawyer is needed by persons charged with soliciting prostitution.
Prostitution Defense Strategies
One legal strategy in Harris County is to seek a pretrial diversion for first-time defendants with no previous criminal case. That means the defendant admits guilt before trial to gain pretrial diversion in the form of participation in a community service program.
After this program, a defendant can have his or her criminal case dismissed and possibly get it removed, or expunged, from their record.