Another Explosive Backpage Article Goes Viral

The other day we were first to break the story to our readers of a pending tv series based on an article about Backpage which went viral. Today we received news of a similar type story – another damning article dealing with the underage sex trafficking mill and the human vermin like Tony Ortega who worked to normalize it. It too, went viral. Instead of getting a series order from a high profile production company, however, this one led to an arrest so sordid and dark it could be a David Fincher film.

After announcing sex trafficking and extortion charges against Lawrence Ray a few days ago, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York made a strange addition when he explained that the whole investigation was sparked by an article on Backpage trafficking. Even more bizarrely, it turns out that article itself was actually sparked by online rumors scattered across the pages of blogs and local forums.

Ezra Marcus, a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, said he began digging into the stunning story when he first began to notice strange online postings mentioning Backpage from people affiliated with Ray and the college.

“I just didn’t think any of it was real,” Marcus told CNN in an interview yesterday.

But after more than 50 interviews over about 10 months, he reported and wrote a 9,000-word story titled “The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence” in New York magazine that details stunning allegations against Ray.

Ray, a 60-year-old father of a former Sarah Lawrence College student, was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with extortion, sex trafficking via Backpage, forced labor trafficking, money laundering and other charges.

According to the indictment, Ray moved into on-campus housing with his daughter and her sophomore roommates in late 2010. From the campus itself he extorted and abused several girls from the prestigious school and forced at least one student to post ads for sex on Backpage over the past decade, according to the indictment.

In reading the charges the SDNY AG declared the criminal in question “exploited and abused young women emotionally, physically and sexually for his own financial gain.”  He was of course speaking of Lawrence Ray, but his quote could just as easily be applied to greedy pigs who ran Backpage and the pipsqueak punks who promoted it.

Exploiting young women physically and sexually for financial gain was, after all, the essence of the Backpage scam Tony Ortega tried to sell us all.

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