A unique aspect of the solicitation allegations that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is facing is the threat that they suddenly pose to both his reputation and his status in the football community. The collateral consequences of even just an allegation of a crime like solicitation can doom a person's career or future – especially if they are not already people of means like Mr. Kraft.
New England Patriots Owner Charged With Soliciting Prostitute in Florida
Recently, a sting by police in central Florida targeted massage parlors that were suspected of providing sexual acts for pay. Surprisingly, prosecutors have pressed charges not just against the prostitutes and parlor owners, but also against the people who they think were paying for sexual acts. One of those people happened to be Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and billionaire.
NFL Considering Action Against Kraft for Violation of League Policies
While the costs of a criminal conviction for soliciting a prostitute – the offense is called “patronizing prostitutes” in Pennsylvania – is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, those are only the sanctions that come from the state government. Other people and organizations are free to pass judgment against someone for criminal convictions or even criminal allegations. These are referred to as the “collateral consequences” of an offense or allegation.
For Mr. Kraft, one of those collateral consequences might come from the National Football League (NFL), which has a code of conduct for team owners. One provision of that code of conduct requires league personnel, which includes team owners, to “refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence” in the NFL. Another provision claims that team owners or managers are held to a “higher standard” than other personnel in the league.
When asked about Mr. Kraft's allegations, a spokesperson for the NFL said that the league would “monitor developments” in the case.
Collateral Consequences Often Strike First
Unfortunately, many people who are in a position of power over someone who has been accused of a crime will move quickly to protect themselves from the illusion of association with a potential wrongdoer. Bosses have been known to fire workers as soon as they learn of a criminal accusation – well before the case has been proven and frequently before charges have even been filed. People can be completely innocent and still face severe professional hardships because employers or other people have jumped the gun to protect themselves from the appearance of being associated with someone who has committed a crime. The assumption of guilt is exactly what has no place in the criminal justice system. Yet it still pervades how many people react to hearing of a criminal allegation.
Joseph D. Lento Defends the Accused in Philadelphia
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia who defends those who have been accused of a crime and can help those who are worried about losing their job after being arrested. Call his law office at (215) 535-5353 or contact him online.