TonyOrtega: Chief Propagandist-At-Large Part II 

Yesterday we took a focused look at a recent Backpage judgment that underlines the reprehensible behavior of both the company and its would-be apologists like Backpage Chief Propagandist-At-Large Tony Ortega who defended its business model on the grounds that it was ‘freedom of speech’.

One of the true tragedies of yesterday’s appalling story of a child forced into sex trafficking was the length her captors were willing to go to in order to manipulate and lie to achieve their sordid ends.

The poor girl didn’t know the pimps running her were shaping her reality with a web of lies by playing ‘good cop, bad cop” in order to instill a false sense that she had someone on her side. It’s the same old game Tony Ortega has been running on his audiences from the start.

Our readers will recall from yesterdays story Steven Snipe, who was convicted earlier this month to 15 years in federal prison for trafficking a young girl using Backpage. Snipe treated his 15-year-old victim like a girlfriend, giving her compliments, clothes, food, entertainment and an LG cell phone. He also was swapping her drugs, “weaning her off of heroin and instead, giving her “molly.”

The girl told authorities “this had the effect of making her feel erotic. The minor-victim and [Snipe] started dating and immediately began having a sexual relationship multiple times a day.”

Snipe had her set up Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram accounts. He took pictures of her wearing clothes he bought for her, pictures of her trying to look sexy, then wearing no clothes at all.

As Backpage.com hadn’t yet been shut down, Snipe told her to put up an ad on the infamous sex trafficking site, saying she was 19 years old. (She’d told Snipe her birth date and, unless he was truly terrible at math, he knew full well she was 15 years old).

“While prostituting for the defendant at various motels, the charges were $200 an hour, $150 for a half hour and $80 for a quick visit,” prosecutors’ sentencing documents read. “The minor-victim advised she averaged 15 clients per day, to a maximum of 20 clients per day. Any clients who wanted domination were charged $250 an hour with a minimum of two hours, but usually lasted three to five hours.”

It was then Snipe turned violent, according to the documents. He began working her 24 hours a day, only allowing naps between clients. The girl told authorities she routinely stole money from clients and snuck in room service meals when her pimp wasn’t there just to survive.

Snipe would rape her while she slept, she said. The last time he did so, it was followed by the beating that prompted her to call 911.

Sadly, this nightmare story is hardly an isolated event. It is one we are seeing again and again playing out as we sort through all the cases connected to Backpage.

Whatever else we make of the tragedies Tony Ortega’s “First Amendment champion” Backpage left in its wake this much is certain — victimized children were anything but unforeseen side-effects of its operation. Victimized girls and vulnerable young women were the business plan all along.

And Tony Ortega Chief Propagandist-At-Large was there to defend Backpage every step of the way.

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