Explosive Backpage Documentary Fallout Begins

As expected, the fallout from the recent bombshell documentary by PBS’s Frontline we first reported on last week is already beginning.

Over the weekend the Columbia Police Department in Missouri completed a suspiciously hasty review of allegations raised by the newly released documentary that the agency protected a notorious Backpage pimp in exchange for information. The review claims no wrongdoing was found.

In response, producers of the series exposing Backpage pimps said the investigation was purposely flawed to achieve those findings and the agency had no intention of uncovering the issues raised in the film. Its goal was, like Tony Ortega and those like him, to protect those who were protecting the pimps.

Indeed, police accountability group Citizens for Justice released the series “Police Protected Pimp” on YouTube in January, a take on one of the city’s most infamous sex traffickers, Barry Paul Manthe, and how for almost three decades the 65-year-old Backpage.com sex peddler and longtime brothel steward eluded prosecution because of his role as a police informant.

Jones said:

“After the review was completed, there was no evidence to suggest police officers were participating in or promoting [the pimp’s] prostitution operation. The location of the home used was under surveillance for possible prostitution.”

But the film’s producer, Matt Akins of Citizens for Justice, and Columbia attorney Steve Wyse, who assisted in the film’s production, questioned the merits of the agency’s investigation of its own officers. Both said they stand by the claims raised in the series, which was based on years of the agency’s own reports and interviews with Backpage sex workers who stayed at the brothel.

The film’s producers have vowed to fight on in the courts against what they see as an attempt to cover-up the role the agency played in protecting known Backpage pimps.

This raises the question we have asked many times on this blog and continue to demand a satisfactory answer to, “What about the guilt of those unconscionable few like Tony Ortega who protected and defended Backpage, shouldn’t they be indicted for the part they played too?”

How this new case is decided may have a direct impact on the fate of Tony Ortega and his cabal of Backpage insiders who worked so hard to con people into believing Backpage was a legitimate business and not a predatory sex trafficking enterprise trading away the lives of children and vulnerable women for a fast buck.

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