Keeping It In The Family

Back when Tony Ortega, infamous Backpage defender of pimps, prostitution, and philandering, was exposed carrying on multiple affairs while married to different women, people were rightly disgusted by his behavior.

When it came to light he was ‘sexting’ (chatting explicitly online) with a close family friend we began to see he was no ordinary creep.

That Tony Ortega is a toxic individual who infects just about anything he touches no longer comes as a shock to most readers. What may come as shock, however, is just how much of this ‘Tony Ortega mentality’ oozes through the stories we continue to read about Backpage in the headlines.

Take for example the story last week of a New Jersey man, who was already serving time for promoting prostitution being brought up on brand new federal charges. The charges? He enlisted the help of his wife and son to continue his sex trafficking business that preyed on “severely drug-dependent” women while he was in a New York prison.

Jean Noriega, his wife Enna Gonzalez, and his son John Oyola, are each facing a federal charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking after appearing in separate court hearings this past week. They could face up to life in prison on the sex trafficking charges.

Noriega peddled the women he coerced into working for him on Backpage.com and booked hotel rooms for the sexual encounters between 2016 and continuing well into 2018, according to the federal criminal complaint. At least five women provided statements to investigators about being terrorized with violence and threats.

He sometimes beat the women bloody and forced the other prostitutes to watch, or videoed the attacks to show the women later, the court was told. The women stayed at Noriega’s residence in Paterson and his son Oyola, who goes by the name “Peachy,” sometimes drove the women to the hotels, authorities said.

Even after this pimp was finally sentenced to two years in prison in New York after pleading guilty to drug and prostitution charges, he was recorded on multiple jail-house phone calls goading Gonzalez and Oyola into continuing to run his enterprise, authorities explained. Gonzalez sometimes even handed the phone to the prostitutes so Noriega could threaten them personally.

The threats, the bullying, coercing others to do the dirty work, the preying on naive, vulnerable women. In many ways these were the core of the engine that drove the Backpage nightmare; from the kingpins who built it, to the pimps who participated in it.

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