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Jupiter, a city of approximately 61,000 residents, is located near West Palm Beach, Florida, in Palm Beach County. Prostitution and sex trafficking of minors have been identified by law enforcement as substantial problems in the city, and residents have complained to police about prostitution in several neighborhoods. Prostituted persons have also been murdered in the city, and a wide range of additional crimes directly linked to the local sex trade have been well documented throughout Pinellas County. In response to such concerns, police have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex. The Jupiter Police Department has conducted several street-level reverse stings since 2000. JPD female officers have also assisted with stings in neighboring Lake Worth. In January 2019, an investigation into human trafficking and prostitution occurring in a storefront “spa” brothel resulted in the arrest of 25 male sex buyers, some of which had their identities publicly revealed. The investigation started with a tip from a Martin County Sheriff’s Office investigator, in October 2018, alleging that managers at a Day Spa were trafficking women, forcing or coercing them to perform sex acts for money. That tip prompted an investigation by Jupiter police and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies, in which detectives started watching the business from the parking lot and observed a total of 97 men (and no women) patronizing the business over six days. Then, a trash pull led detectives to a spreadsheet of financial records. In January, detectives had obtained warrants and had placed secret surveillance cameras inside the massage parlor that captured sex acts.
Most of the men face charges for soliciting prostitution. Depending on the circumstances of the individual events, some of the men may not be booked into the Palm Beach County jail, and will not have mug shots taken and available for publicizing. Residents of Palm Beach County you receive a notice in the mail saying they are summoned to appear in court; out of state residents may have warrants issued for their arrest in Florida. An arrest warrant does not guarantee a booking photo in Palm Beach County if there is a misdemeanor charge only. Other agencies in Florida may handle charging and booking differently; e.g., in related investigations, Martin County arrested and then booked sex buyers, and posted each mug shot online; and Indian River County agencies posted photos before the arrests occurred.
“Soliciting another to commit prostitution” in Florida is punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and a first-degree misdemeanor for a subsequent offense. A first offense carries a jail sentence of up to 60 days, and a second offense carries a sentence of up to one year. Under Florida Statutes, punishment options for people charged for the first time with “soliciting a prostitute” may include a diversion program that may involve performing up to 100 hours of community service and attending a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking “if such programs exist in the judicial circuit in which the offender is sentenced.”
Palm Beach County has had a john school program since the 1990s, and presents an option for those arrested in Jupiter and elsewhere in the County. In February 1990, the Palm Beach County Circuit Court developed a prostitution diversion program, named the “Risk Education for Sex Offenders” program. Limited to first-time offenders, the course offered men arrested for soliciting prostitutes the option of completing the program in lieu of jail time. The course was composed of a two-hour class, a HIV blood test, mandatory attendance at four court hearings for prostituted women, and “reading a psychological profile of a prostitute who was diagnosed with AIDS.” Although it is unclear how long the aforementioned program remained in effect, in October 2009 the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that a second school– the Prostitution Impact Prevention Education (PIPE) program– had been offering a diversion option to johns since 2000. Between 2000 and 2009, 3,000 sex buyers reportedly completed the program. Comprised of a five-hour lecture with “speakers from law enforcement, mental and physical health experts, and at times a former prostitute lecture in the class about the dark side of hiring a lady (or gentleman) of the night, or being one,” it allowed first-time offenders who complete the course, submit to a STD test, and avoid re-arrest the opportunity to expunge the charge from their record and avoid a conviction for solicitation. As of 2009, the course was being offered 3-4 times a year, in classes of approximately 75 participants. It was also offered in both Spanish and English.
- Jupiter Police Department
- Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
- Palm Beach County Circuit Court
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “JPD Arrest 18 Johns in Prostitution Sting,” Jupiter Courier, April 9 2000.
- “Police Arrest Three in Prostitution Sting,” Jupiter Courier, August 30 2000.
- “Jupiter Police Bust 9 Men in Prostitution Sting,” CBS/WPEC-TV 12, February 29 2012.
Investigation of Brothel Using Video Evidence to Arrest Sex Buyers; Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.espn.com/patriots-owner-robert-kraft-charged-solicitation-prostitution (2019)
- https://www.nytimes.com/robert-kraft-jupiter-orchids-arrest.html (2019)
- https://www.cnbc.com/new-england-patriots-owner-robert-kraft-charged-with-soliciting-prostitution (2019)
- https://www.wptv.com/how-jupiter-detectives-gathered-evidence-in-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://www.nytimes.com/robert-kraft-nfl (2019)
- https://www.bostonherald.com/summons-issued-as-kraft-prostitution-charges-move-forward/ (2019)
- https://www.wptv.com/jupiter-spa-bust-search-warrants-reveal-how-detectives-planted-hidden-cameras (2019)
- https://www.northcentralpa.com/who-are-the-264-men-arrested-in-the-florida-day-spa (2019)
- “Hookers, Clients Take Class to Avoid Jail,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, April 1 1991.
- “Prostitution Prevention Program Hooks Johns,” Palm Beach Post, October 18 2000.
- “Sheriff’s Office Lures ‘Johns’ to Class,” Palm Beach Post, July 11 2001.
- “Pay For Sex, Get Lesson Instead,” Tampa Tribune, October 7 2001.
- “Tackling Demand for Prostitution,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 5 2003.
- “School for ‘Johns’ Tries to Scare Sex Solicitors Straight,” Palm Beach Post, July 23 2006.
- “Class Teaches about Risks of Prostitution,” Palm Beach Post, December 26 2009.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Federal Officials Catch, Arrest Man Alleged to Have Prostituted Jupiter Girl, 14,” Palm Beach Post, February 9 2012.
- “Jupiter Man, 59, Sentenced to 20 Years for Producing Child Porn at His Home,” Palm Beach Post, January 4 2013.
- “West Palm Beach Man Sentenced to 11 Years for Turning Teen Girl into Prostitute,” Palm Beach Post, March 15 2013.
- https://www.palmbeachpost.com/prostitution-sting-leads-pbso-human-trafficking-suspect (2017)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Four Arrested on Prostitution Related Charges,” Jupiter Courier, August 2 2000.
- “Jupiter Officer Aids Harlotry Project,” Jupiter Courier, August 16 2000.
- “Police Raid Jupiter Brothel, Arrest 3,” Palm Beach Post, December 4 2005.
- “Residents Spur Raid on Brothel, Police Say,” Jupiter Courier, December 7 2005.
- “Brothel Crackdown Unnerves Neighbors,” Palm Beach Post, December 12 2005.
- “North Blotter: Jupiter Man Suspects Roommate’s Prostitutes Stole Phone, Cash,” Palm Beach Post, June 5 2014.
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Family Sad, But Not Surprised by Woman’s Death,” Fort Pierce Hometown News, March 9 2007.
- “Unsolved Murders Bear Resemblance,” Fort Pierce Hometown News, January 4 2008.