Video evidence of Boston College Trustees Associate Robert Kraft, who was accused of soliciting prostitution in 2019, was ordered to be destroyed on July 30 by a Palm Beach County judge, according to widespread news outlets.
Kraft—who owns the New England Patriots and serves on the Board of Governors for the BC Chief Executives Club—was arrested on solicitation charges in February of 2019 after allegedly “receiving sexual services at a massage parlor,” according to The Boston Globe.
Though he publicly apologized for his actions, Kraft pleaded not guilty in February of 2019 in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Solicitation charges against Kraft were dropped in September of last year after the state decided not to seek another appeal in the case.
Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser ruled during trial that the video recordings, which recorded the alleged activities at the parlor, were inadmissible in trial because they were improperly obtained. Without the videos, the court did not have enough evidence and dropped the charges against Kraft.
Hanser’s ruling was upheld by Florida’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in August of 2020. According to the three-judge panel, the original warrant used to obtain the recordings did not adequately protect the other massage parlor customers’ privacy, as they were being unknowingly recorded.
Kraft’s lawyers argued that there would be a significant risk that the recordings would be leaked, potentially causing more harm than the original charges themselves, according to The Boston Globe. On July 30, Hanser found that the recordings were not part of the permanent court file and ordered that they be returned to prosecutors for destruction.
After Kraft’s original arrest in 2019, groups of BC students called for a University response and for Kraft’s removal from all BC positions. At the time, Associate Vice President for University Communications Jack Dunn said that Kraft’s ties to BC were misunderstood.
“There is a Board of Trustees, and Bob Kraft is not a member of it,” Dunn wrote in an email to The Heights in 2019. “Bob Kraft served one term on the Boston College Board of Trustees from 2003-2007. Trustees who rotate off the Board are given the title Trustee Associate, in recognition of past service.”
Beyond his position as a trustee associate, he is still a member of the BC Chief Executives Club, serving on the Board of Governors. The club hosts forums for business leaders in the Boston area and is associated with the Carroll School of Management.
The University did not respond to requests for comment.
Featured graphic by Olivia Charbonneau / Heights Editor