For Ortega, Backpage There Are No Isolated Incidents

In terms of bad press for Backpage, it has been nothing short of a disaster. In addition to the two separate child sex trafficking rape cases, this past week, a third case made the news.

On Wednesday, 26yr old Trevien Thomas of Fresno, California pleaded guilty to driving a 14-year-old girl from Dallas and forcing her to into prostitution for days in Houston.

The accused pimp entered his plea by video conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic, telling Senior U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas that he was guilty of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking of a minor. He sat in front of the camera from the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe.

Isn’t it time Tony Ortega sat down in front of a camera, live from the underground basement bunker his wife pays for, and admitted to his crimes? Admitting a full account of exactly how he conspired to aid and abet Backpage sex traffickers might be a great place to start (in case you’re looking for suggestions, Tony!)

We made the point earlier this week that these crimes rarely seem to occur  in isolation. This is certainly true of in the case of Trevien Thomas who was previously arrested on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child ages 14 to 17; aggravated kidnapping; compelling prostitution with someone younger than 18, and trafficking a child. He was also charged with manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance.

The pimp in question began his trafficking scheme began in May 2016, when Thomas met the 14-year-old runaway at an inn in Dallas and convinced her he could help her make some ‘easy money’.

He posted a commercial sex advertisement on the website Backpage, calling her “Duchess.” He used his email address and his phone number, which received 13 incoming calls and made 15 outgoing calls that night, prosecutors explained. He posted a second ad that stated the girl was new to town.

Thomas then drove the girl to Houston, and they stayed at a Red Roof Inn between May 24 and May 28, 2016. He had a semi-automatic pistol.

He wasn’t always present when the girl was at the motel, but if he left, he kept her under the watch of associates, the prosecutor said. Thomas created more Backpage ads for the young girl including one photo which showed on her stomach on a bed, naked from the waist down.

Despite Tony Ortega’s extraordinary lies to the contrary, this image of a half naked underage girl on Backpage was not an outlier or some unforeseen abuse of Backpage policy. The violence, the threats, the sexual exploitation of children — none of these things were random isolated incidents.

It’s what Backpage was explicitly built for.

And few people were in a position to better understand that fact than Backpage’s infamous Propagandist-At-Large, Tony Ortega.

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