On March 6, 2019

Pawlet man busted along with Kraft in Florida prostitution investigation

By Alan J. Keays/ VTDigger

A Vermont man is among the more than 100 people facing solicitation of prostitution charges stemming from an investigation in Florida that made headlines after reports that New England Patriots football team owner Robert Kraft had been charged.

Lee McChesney, 84, of Pawlet, was listed among the men who would be charged as a result of the investigation, according to police in Vero Beach. A new release put out by Florida police included McChesney’s name, age, hometown and head shots, along with other suspects.

Kraft, McChesney and others frequented Chinese “day spas” run by a crime ring in New York City. The sex acts were performed on the men as part of an enhanced service at the spas, according to the Palm Beach Post.

McChesney’s case was handled by the Vero Beach Police Department, while the Jupiter Police Department handled the case involving Kraft, the owner of the six-time NFL Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Police said warrants on the misdemeanor charges are being issued and arrests haven’t yet been made.

A Boston Globe report stated that Scott McChesney, who learned of the allegations against his father from a news report, denied the charge and said the accusation damages his father’s reputation.

The Globe also reported that a spokesperson for Kraft stated, “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

According to a release from the Vero Beach Police Department, the investigation into human trafficking at several massage parlors in Florida spanned more than six months and involved numerous local, county and federal authorities, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Nearly 200 people face a total of more than 200 counts of solicitation of prostitution, police said. “The main targets” of the probe are facing charges such as racketeering, deriving support from prostitution, engaging in prostitution, and transportation for prostitution.

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