Last week, a Missouri attorney filed a lawsuit against
Backpage.com, claiming the website is a "safe house" for pimps and knowingly allowed Latasha Jewell McFarland to pimp out a 14-year-old girl on the website.
The Pitch's parent company, Village Voice Media, runs Backpage.com, an online
classified-ad site similar to Craigslist. VVM attorney Steve Suskin says the lawsuit, filed on behalf of an unnamed minor and her mother by Robert Pedroli, is "riddled with errors," and that the company actually helped law enforcement track down the alleged perv.
Suskin responded in a press release:
On Friday, anAs for the pimp, McFarland
attorney attempted to milk a tragedy by suing Village Voice Media
Holdings, LLC and its related entity Backpage.com in a child predator
case in which Backpage.com's records helped convict Latasha Jewell
McFarland of pimping out a minor.
The lawsuit is riddled with errors. The claim that we knowingly assisted
McFarland in committing criminal acts is a lie fabricated by a trial
lawyer looking for a payday. The attorney seeks to redirect blame from a
convicted predator to Backpage.com, which helped prosecute the
Backpage.com has stringent safeguards in place to ensure that only
adults use the site. We provided the FBI with the perpetrator's IP
address and credit-card information.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 recognized that
the very nature of the Internet meant that vast traffic depended on the
ability of citizens to post directly onto websites like Backpage.com,
Facebook, MySpace or eBay, or to have search engines like Google and
Yahoo find postings without pre-screening or censorship. The
responsibility, under the law, rests with the person supplying the post.
In the last two years, Backpage.com has had 58 million posts, of which 6
million were adult. In this vast exchange of information, law
enforcement agencies have asked for our testimony in precisely five
Because one case is too many, we have, and we will continue to,
cooperate willingly with authorities.
pleaded guilty to prostitution charges earlier this month, and
she's looking at up to five years in prison. She'll be sentenced on
H/T: Riverfront Times