Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona has nothing on its website as yet, other sources are replete with information concerning an FBI raid on the Sedona home of former New Times publisher, Michael Lacey, and the Paradise Valley home of Jim Larkin. The duo co-founded Backpage.com.
Sedona Red Rock News carries the report by Christopher Fox Graham detailing that Backpage.com, ranks second behind craigslist for online classified advertising. But its main products aren’t lawnmowers or toaster ovens. Their stock in trade is prostitution and sex trafficking, often involving underage girls. This 2017 report released by a U.S. Senate subcommittee reveals that 73 percent of the child-trafficking reports are knowingly facilitated by Backpage.com.
This is the indictment. (Click link to open.)
The website has been removed. It has been replaced with a screenshot overlayed with law enforcement insignias and a notice stating: “Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.”
Although the Department of Justice said it will issue a press release after the charges are unsealed, CBS News reports that an indictment had been unsealed against seven people allegedly involved in running Backpage, containing 93 criminal counts including money laundering and running a website to facilitate prostitution. The indictment, which was filed in Arizona where Backpage is maintained, reportedly names 17 victims who were trafficked, both adults and children. The site is alleged to have earned more than $500 million in revenue since it was founded in 2004. Law enforcement officials have called it “the world’s top online brothel.”
A year ago, before he departed to work for the hate-mongering Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Stephen Lemons, still writing his “Feathered Bastard” column for the free-of-charge, far left Phoenix New Times, opined that Lacey and Larkin — his former bosses — were being treated unfairly for “donating to powerless Democrats.” Even a man of Lemons’ low caliber knew there was far more going on, but chose to try imitating Houdini and misdirect our attention. It didn’t work then. It clearly doesn’t work now.
Focusing on Mike Lacey, co-founder and former owner of Phoenix New Times, Lemons characterized him as “still battling for freedom of speech despite being slimed by Backpage’s foes.”
With this critical thinking, Lemons couldn’t have found a more accommodating place to land than the equally dishonest SPLC.