Ortega’s Backpage Lies Continue to Victimize

By this point there are few brazen enough to argue away the corrupting influence Backpage had on every element of society it touched — from the marginalized who were its victims to the online predators from all walks of life who took advantage of the despicable illegal sex trade platform. Tony Ortega is about the only one we could think of with that unique mix of arrogance, ignorance and lack of any discernible ethical system who might take up the challenge but as we have previously noted Tony Ortega remains strangely silent on the topic he once fought so hard to defend.

This past week, however, a new story emerged which further illustrates the lingering corrosive effect of the Backpage empire.

When the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office chose not to charge a cop accused of sexually assaulting and harassing four women and girls who had been advertised on Backpage, a memo (less than a page in length) emerged explaining the decision. It dismissed the women as gang members and bi-polar” runaways.

Now the state attorney’s office is acknowledging that the prosecutor assigned to the case did not interview three of the four alleged victims of Sgt Jesse Menocal and ‘lost’ crucial documents relevant to the case.

The two adult prostitutes and one underage Backpage victim could have been crucial to the case. Internal affairs investigators began looking into Menocal in June 2015 after a 17-year-old complained that Menocal tried to coerce her to have sex inside a camera-less room at a police station. Detectives then tracked down the three other alleged victims based on tips about Menocal’s behavior.

Police knew all four women and girls were victims of Backpage human trafficking, and it’s alleged Menocal understood this to mean they’d be more vulnerable to coercion by law enforcement.

Tragically, runaway youths and trafficked prostitutes are at-risk populations for sexual assault because they are less likely to be taken seriously or believed because they are not seen as the ‘perfect victim’.

When evidence and documents are lost, it suggests that they haven’t been handled respectfully and it sends a broader message that the reports of sexual misconduct and assault aren’t taken seriously. Indeed it suggests, that at some level, local authorities have bought into the very propaganda Tony Ortega so frequently spewed, namely that sex trafficking in America is no big deal.

We’d ask Tony Ortega to try peddling that line to the countless woman and children who have suffered because of his callous and irresponsible defense of sex trafficking but it’s clear that Tony Ortega is too cowardly to speak on his once favorite subject anymore.

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