The Tide is About to Change

I really just want people to understand that nobody, unless they’ve lived this life, can honestly fathom the amount of pain and trauma that comes from Backpage. I suffer every day because of the things that happened to me years ago.”

The above quote comes from a woman Melanie Thompson who says she was exploited for years starting at age 12 by a sex trafficker who used what Tony Ortega once routinely referred to as a bastion of First Amendment Rights, Backpage.com.

On Tuesday of this week in state court in Manhattan, Melanie Thompson took an extraordinary step we hope more victims will begin to pursue. Rather than suing the pimps who sold her, or the johns who used her, she’s opting instead to go for the root of the problem by suing the men who ran Backpage itself, claiming they advertised her for sex even though they knew she was a minor and knowingly masked her age in the ads to keep law enforcers at bay.

The compliant, citing the New York’s revamped Child Victims Act which loosened the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, pulls no punches in assigning blame where it properly belongs. It reads in part:

“As a result of being advertised for sex on Backpage.com, Melanie was repeatedly raped, sexually abused and exploited by men who purchased her for sex.”

In what we hope will become the lawsuit targets Backpage directly its former CEO Carl Ferrer, its founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin and several holding companies that had ownership stakes in the company.

It is high time these criminals were brought to justice and forced to answer not only to the state and federal governmental agencies for breaking racketeering laws and a host of other white collar infractions, but also to the countless young women and girls who were victimized and scarred for life by their greedy, soulless actions and subsequent cover-up.

For too long cowards like Tony Ortega argued that the First Amendment to the US Constitution protected the site’s content and that exploiting children was an inalienable right granted to Backpage.

That tide is about to change.

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