Posts Tagged ‘Prostitution’

A newly-filed U.S. civil suit claims Daryl Katz, the billionaire owner of the Edmonton Oilers, paid a teenage ballet dancer $75,000 in exchange for “her sexual favours.”

The unproven allegations come in response to a sexual abuse lawsuit launched by seven aspiring ballerinas in 2021 against Mitchell Taylor Button, a dance teacher, and his wife Dusty Button, once a principal member of The Boston Ballet. 

Earlier this month, Taylor Button and his wife filed a third-party counterclaim in U.S. District Court in Nevada, admitting to a consensual “throuple sexual relationship” with Sage Humphries, the lead plaintiff in the suit. The cross-claim says their “loving and supportive” affair began in 2017, when Humphries was 18, but alleges she had been involved in three prior sexual relationships as an underage teen with much older men, including Katz.

The third-party claim seeks to hold those men liable for any damages, with the filing stating that if there’s a price to be paid, “it should be paid by those who actually engaged in illegal acts with her.” 

A lawyer representing Katz denied the allegations. 

liable for any damages, with the filing stating that if there’s a price to be paid, “it should be paid by those who actually engaged in illegal acts with her.” 

A lawyer representing Katz denied the allegations. 

Screen shots of alleged texts

The lawsuit makes a number of unsubstantiated allegations about Katz, Humphries, and her family.

“Humphries was literally a child prostitute to a billionaire,” the claim says, “and her mother assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz.”

Among the exhibits attached to the filing are screen shots of texts allegedly exchanged between Humphries and Katz, as well as an iPhone contact under the billionaire’s name, listing a number with a 780 area code, most commonly associated with the Edmonton area. 

A text exchange, allegedly between Katz and teenage ballerina Sage Humphries, filed as part of a U.S. civil suit. (U.S. District Court, Nevada)

“If my guys send u funds will u spend it on/keep it for yourself?” Katz allegedly wrote. “And just between us? Even though u r wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way.”

“Yes .. Just between us,” Humphries purportedly replies.

“OK will have one of my guys email u. He will send you 50K,” says the message attributed to Katz.

The court filing says Katz was 53 at the time, while the dancer was 17.

Robert Klieger, the lawyer representing Katz, told CBC News that his client never had a sexual relationship with Humphries. But the pair did meet on two occasions in the spring of 2016 with regards to a project that the 17-year-old was pitching to Katz’s film company, Silver Pictures

“One of Daryl’s friends connected him with Sage because Sage was working with some producing partners on shopping a motion picture project that they had put together, basically, and it was based in the ballet world,” said Klieger. 

Klieger said he was unable to verify the authenticity of the texts in the court filing, but confirmed that the Edmonton Oilers owner did arrange for $75,000 to be sent to Humphries as part of their business dealings. 

“They ultimately decided to pass on the project. But during the period of time that the project was under consideration, they asked for some help to keep with the funding of the project to keep it going. And that’s the $75,000 that is at issue,” said Klieger.

The project, a remake of an independent Australian film called Tackling Romeo, remains in development, according to an IMDB listing

A March 2016 self-portrait of ballerina Sage Humphries from her Instagram account. She was 17 at the time, and pitching Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz on a Hollywood movie. (Sage Humphries/Instagram)

Klieger said Katz will vigorously defend his reputation against the “baseless and scurrilous” claims in the suit.

“It’s designed to be a distraction and a shakedown,” he said.

The third-party action doesn’t explain how or when the screen shots were obtained, but the time and battery levels displayed suggests they were accessed on multiple occasions. The original civil suit filed by Humphries states that she handed over her iPhone and passwords to Taylor Button so that he might assist her in building a social media following. 

To date, no responses have been filed to the third-party motion. In a statement to CBC News, the lawyer representing Humphries and the other dancers dismissed the action as a “meaningless sideshow.”

“As is typical of abusers facing serious litigation, the Buttons have filed counterclaims that distract from and distort the truth and weaponize the serious allegations of abuse that have been brought against them,” wrote Sigrid McCawley, managing partner at Boies Schiller LLP. 

“Their counterclaims falsely implicate others and are an unfounded attempt to portray the women they abused as liars.”

Marc Randazza, the Las Vegas attorney representing Taylor Button and his wife, declined to comment on the filing.

“We are not trying this case in the press,” he wrote in an email.

Randazza describes himself as a “First Amendment lawyer,” and his website highlights a number of areas of expertise, including civil rights, defamation, the adult entertainment business and the “protection of erotic expression.”

He has attracted media attention for some of his controversial clients, including Alex Jones, the Infowars conspiracy theorist, and Andrew Anglin, publisher of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website. He has faced disciplinary proceedings from the FloridaCalifornia  and Nevada State bar associations.

This is not the first time that Katz has been the subject of sex-for-money allegations. 

In 2017, R.J. Cipriani, a professional gambler, filed a defamation suit against G.F. Bunting+Co, a public relations crisis management firm that was then representing Katz.

The suit alleged that Katz propositioned Cipriani’s wife, model and actress Greice Santo, during a Hawaii photo shoot, offering her $20,000 a day for sex. Katz allegedly wired Santo a total of $35,000 — money she later donated to charity after rejecting the arrangement.

At the time, a spokesman for Katz denied the allegations, calling them “false, malicious and entirely without merit.”

Asked about the 2017 case, Katz’s lawyer, Robert Klieger, said “there was nothing to that,” offering to put CBC News in touch with Cipriani. 

“There’s no continuing animosity or anything between them,” said Klieger. “But I can’t go into details of exactly how they resolved that.”

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Martin County Sheriff William Snyder expects surveillance videos of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to eventually be released to the public, according to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston.

Authorities say they have footage of Kraft and others visiting the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Palm Beach County, Fla., which is involved in a human trafficking investigation that resulted in Kraft being charged with soliciting prostitution.

Even if the courts honor Kraft’s request to not make evidence in his case public, Snyder said the videos would still likely be released after a verdict is reached.

“Once a case is over, it’s not an ongoing investigation,” Snyder said. “There has to be a specific reason not to release a public record. And the fact that there is sexual activity is not an exemption.”

“I watched and just left the room,” he added. “There is nothing to see. It’s pretty ugly.”

However, prosecutors are offering to drop the soliciting prostitution charges against Kraft and 24 others in exchange for admitting they would have been proven guilty during a trial. That type of agreement would also result in the evidence – including the videos – being sealed, according to ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn.

Despite the offer, Kraft will reportedly reject the deal. He’s denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were revealed in late February.

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution in Florida, Jupiter police chief Daniel Kerr confirmed in a news conference Friday.

Kraft is one of 25 men being charged with solicitation, according to WPTV, and police say they have video evidence concerning all 25.

“We’re as deeply stunned as anyone else,” Kerr said of Kraft’s involvement.

The charges come as part of an eight-month investigation into human trafficking at Florida day spas.

Kraft’s camp denied the allegations through a spokesperson.

“We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity,” read a statement released to reporters, including Tom Winter of NBC News. “Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Kraft attended a fundraiser in Florida on Saturday, according to Jenna West of Sports Illustrated.

The 77-year-old has owned the Patriots since 1994. The franchise has won six championships since, including Super Bowl LIII in February.

Team owners are subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy, which states: “Ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline when violations … occur.”

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 in 2014 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated.

Current and former cheerleaders for the NFL and other leagues provided accounts to the New York Times of incidents in which they’ve been subjected to sexual comments and unwanted advances from fans.

“When you have on a push-up bra and a fringed skirt, it can sometimes, unfortunately, feel like it comes with the territory,” former Tennessee Titans cheerleader Labriah Lee Holt told Juliet Macur and John Branch.

“I never experienced anything where someone on the professional staff or the team said something or made me feel that way. But you definitely experience that when you encounter people who have been drinking beer.”

Both teams and employees are cognizant of the occupational hazards, but the cheerleaders that came forward spoke of odd job requests. One such was an assignment that had six Redskins cheerleaders sent to a fan’s home for an afternoon where seven men in their 40s were drinking and watching football.

The request came at a charge of $1,200 per cheerleader, yet the cheerleaders were paid $100.

“It’s literally like you’re calling for an escort,” one of the cheerleaders said. “It’s not like somebody grabbed my boots, and nobody told me, ‘Have sex with me right now.’ It’s a lot more nuanced. It’s like every other abuse dynamic. You don’t feel like you have the liberty to say, ‘I’d prefer not to do this.'”

A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader recalled one game when she and others were walking by a throng of opposing fans.

“We were walking by, waving and smiling, and one guy caught my eye. He looked at me and said, “I hope you get raped!’ That’s the kind of stuff we’d have yelled at us,” she said.

Most cheerleaders opt against reporting such incidents to their superiors for fear of losing their jobs.

“We beat out hundreds of other girls for this position. It was very apparent, always there – there is always somebody else who can do this job,” the Cowboys cheerleader said. “We never talked about these things, never questioned them.”

Details of Warren Sapp’s arrest have come to light.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle was arrested Monday morning in Phoenix, Ariz. after allegedly assaulting two women working as prostitutes in a hotel room.

Sapp has also been fired from his job at the NFL Network, according to Sports Illustrated.

The Phoenix Police Department released a statement summing up the events:

On February 2, 2015 at 2:30 a.m. Phoenix Police officers working security at a Downtown Phoenix hotel were investigating a noise disturbance when they were contacted by a female alleging she had been assaulted. The incident was alleged to have occurred in a guest room, after meeting in the lobby while she and another female were there as escorts. During a meeting in the room, an argument ensued, allegedly over money and the altercation turned physical, spilling out into the hallway.

During the investigation detectives were able to establish that an act of prostitution occurred in the room by at least one of the females. Sapp was detained and transported to Phoenix Police Headquarters. While there he was questioned and admitted involvement in the act of prostitution, but denied assaulting the females. Minor injuries consistent with a struggle, were observed by investigators on both females.

Sapp was transported to the Maricopa County Jail and booked on charges of Soliciting Prostitution and two counts of assault, both misdemeanor offenses.

One female was cited for one count of Prostitution and released, the second female left the scene prior to detectives arrival but was later located at a Peoria hotel. She was interviewed, and cited for a violation of the City’s escort permit requirements and released.