Harshest Backpage Sentence Yet: 20 Years, 20 Million Dollars

Another day of Backpage in the headlines, this time the news comes from the nation’s capitol where U.S. Attorney James Kennedy described in press conference today how 51-year-old Valentino Shine Sr. preyed upon and exploited women who were vulnerable and addicted to drugs. Kennedy says Shine used his knowledge as a recovering cocaine addict to target and control the women.

During the conference, Kennedy said:  “At the urging of the defendant the victims advertised on backpage.com. And after performing sex acts for money these victims would give that money, all of that money, to the defendant Mr. Shine.”

Kennedy described how Shine would routinely use physical beatings, manipulation and brainwashing to maintain control over the women – three of whom died of drug overdoses.

One of the survivors – who spoke to reporters after the press conference – says she wants other women who may be in a similar situation to know that they matter.

Said the young woman, who wished to remain anonymous for her own protection:   “You don’t have to feel alone. You don’t have to be uncomfortable. That there is a way out. That you can find somebody that will help you. And you don’t have to be ashamed to speak up. You don’t have to ashamed of yourself. Because it happens. And I didn’t think it could happen to me but it did”

Kennedy says Shine is facing 20-years to life in prison and a $20 million fine when he’s sentenced in federal court, in Buffalo, December 12.    While we applaud this move we urge the U.S. Attorney’s office and DOJ to go after the Backpage ring-leaders and their contemptible yes-man, Tony Ortega.

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