Patriots chaplain Jack Easterby, a close confidant of coach Bill Belichick, is stepping down after six seasons in the role, according to the Boston Globe.
The Globe says unidentified league sources report that Easterby has been troubled by team owner Robert Kraft being charged with soliciting prostitution, charges that arose after a police investigation into human trafficking. Easterby recently retweeted a statement by former Patriot and now Saints tight end Benjamin Watson condemning the “evil” of human trafficking.
Easterby, a Christian minister, has also served as the team’s “character coach.” According to the Globe, he has been one of Belichick’s “closest” confidants, and took an active role in guiding the team through turmoil in recent years, including the arrest of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and the “Deflategate” scandal.
Last season, he monitored the progress of troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon.
According to the Globe, Easterby’s contract expired at the end of the season and he has decided to pursue “other opportunities.”
Kraft has been charged with paying for sex at a Jupiter, Florida, spa on Jan. 19 and again Jan. 20, the day before and morning of the Patriots’ AFC title game against the Chiefs. He later flew to Kansas City to attend the game.
Kraft, 77, pleaded not guilty this week in West Palm Beach to two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. He has requested a non-jury trial.