Tony Ortega’s ‘Foolproof’ Self-Policing

More fall out today following the news we reported to you recently about the former Florida teacher who purchased a 14-year-old girl for sex via the now-seized website after it was announced that he would be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

According to the Gainesville Sun, report on the story Jeffrey Farrell Davis, 36, who taught at Oak View Middle School in Alachua County from 2010 to 2015, was sentenced Monday after he pleaded guilty to a child sex trafficking charge in March 2018.

New details emerging on the case make it clear that several people “were involved in a scheme to make money” by trafficking the girl up and down north and central Florida through the spring and summer of 2017.

Tony Ortega went to great lengths to defend backpage, claiming that their foolproof method of self-policing was more than adequate to combat the scourge of underage sex trafficking the website made possible via its ethically compromised ad platform.

Apparently Ortega’s vaunted ‘foolproof’ method of Backpage protecting vulnerable children wasn’t so very foolproof after all. In fact Backpage’s self-policing was thwarted when advertisements identifying the victim under a false name were posted in the ‘escort services’ section of for the Gainesville area.  The advertisements were actually for the purpose of offering the child for commercial sexual activity.

Backpage’s method self-policing which so impressed Tony Ortega had one major flaw it seems: it relied on the basic decency and honesty of pimps for it to work. Who could have seen that going wrong?!

For his part the convicted man admitted to having what the court identified as ‘commercial sex’ with the girl and told authorities that he believed the girl was 19 based on what the ads said.

And here is yet another level of complication introduced by Backpage. Its entire ad scheme was designed from the beginning to allow its pimp clientele to lie in order to sell children to adults for sex. With lie upon lie and bad actor after bad actor falling for the intentional misrepresentations (sometimes willingly, sometimes perhaps less so) don’t Backpage and the people who supported and defended it bear a burden of liability here?

We believe so. And we’re not going anywhere until the truth comes out.

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