Latest Backpage Conviction Sets Landmark Precedent

We first reported to you last week about a 32 year federal prison conviction for the man who trafficked 16-year-old Desiree Robinson of Chicago. The girl was subsequently murdered by a man she had been sold to on Backpage. While the actual murder awaits trial for the part he played in destroying the innocent girl’s life, we now receive news of another important sentence connected with this tragedy — one that may yet have implications well beyond this single case.

In fact, it may be the next step in insuring that none who participated in Backpage’s scheme will escape justice for their crimes.

Over the weekend, the man who pleaded guilty to introducing the Chicago teenager to her Backpage pimp before she was murdered has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Take a moment with that. The individual responsible for connecting the pimp with the victim has been found responsible and handed a significant sentence for the role he played.

Charles McFee, who was charged with trafficking, admitted to selling 16-year-old Desiree Robinson for a measly $250 to Joseph Hazley, who marketed her for sex on Backpage.com.  Despite Tony Ortega’s repeated assurances that the advertisements they hosted on site were closely monitored and “sanitized” to remove ads for girls were being sold for sex, the story of Desiree Robinson is by no means an outlier. We are seeing again and again that the only work of “sanitation” was the propaganda Ortega spewed in his brazen public defense of the sex ring. Make no mistake, with each passing day the lies he crafted are being exposed by the light of truth.

During his sentencing hearing last Thursday, the man who sold Desiree to her pimp said he wasn’t thinking of the consequences of his actions, adding he was “young and dumb.”

U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman who heard the case wasn’t buying this defense and she threw the book at him. It is a landmark conviction demonstrating clearly that the guilty aren’t simply the pimps and the johns who took advantage of Backpage’s greed. Being ‘young and dumb’ is no argument. And Tony Ortega, who at best could lay claim to only one of those excuses, may soon find himself answerable for his crimes as well.

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