A Ventnor firefighter was charged Monday as one of 25 people involved in a prostitution ring at a Florida day spa that included New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Joseph Daniels, 36, of the first block of Somerset Avenue, was among those charged with soliciting another to commit prostitution in a list published by Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg.
Daniels’ lawyer, Scott Skier, said his client entered a not guilty plea.
“We anticipate the case will be resolved with a full dismissal of all charges,” Skier said.
Daniels surrendered to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday and was released after posting a $500 bond, Skier said.
His next court date has not been scheduled.
Daniels makes $98,692 in his role as a city firefighter, according to public employee records.
Ventnor fire Chief Michael Cahill said Saturday that the department is currently gathering the facts and reviewing the charges from Florida, and have no comment at this time.
Daniels was seen on police surveillance footage at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, where he paid an unknown woman for a sex act, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
The charge, a first-degree misdemeanor, carries up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service as well as an educational program on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking, according to the release.
“These cases aren’t about any one defendant or any group of defendants,” Aronberg said. “The larger picture, which we must all confront, is the cold reality that many prostitutes in cases like this are victims, often lured into this country with promises of a better life, only to be forced to live and work in a sweatshop or a brothel, subject to force, fraud or coercion.”
While local defendants will be mailed a summons to appear in court, out-of-county defendants will have a low-level warrant issued, according to the release, and will have to either surrender or have an attorney contact law enforcement.
Kraft, 77, visited the massage parlor for sex acts the night before and the morning of Jan. 20’s AFC Championship Game, which he attended in Kansas City, authorities say. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report