One of the most frequent arguments I hear against shutting down Backpage’s adult ads is that it will drive the traffickers and pimps further underground. It turns out that they’re already there and if DARPA has any say it they won’t be hiding there long.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is the agency under the direction of the Department of Defense that, according to wiki, is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. That can apply to law enforcement as well because DARPA has developed a type of search engine called Memex that allows them to identify patterns in human trafficking. It even searches the so-called dark web where sites like the infamous Silk Road have existed.
I urge you to either read the NPR article or listen to the audio clip below to see just how Memex can get the job done.
The Kentucky Attorney General’s office say that 42-year-old Gregory Mathis, of Louisville, allegedly posed as a 15-year-old on Facebook to solicit explicit photos from underage girls. His also said to have used Kik to maintain contact with his victims. Investigators say that when they searched Mathis’ phone they found explicit videos of his victims. I’d like to hear more about how they found out that Mathis was allegedly preying on these girls. Even the Attorney General’s website doesn’t mention that.
The reason I ask is because Mathis’ wife has some doubt that her husband is the predator that Kentucky investigators believe he is…
“So, what they’re accusing him of doing is creating a false facebook account and then using it to get images of minors,” asked Stephan Johnson. “And you don’t believe that?” Adams answered, “No, I do not. Why not? I just, like I said, he is a good dad, we have two kids of our own and I just don’t see him doing it.”
Johnson followed up, “If he didn’t do anything…what do you think brought authorities to your house?” Adams answered, “Like I said, I do think maybe there was something going on…but not to the extreme as what they’re saying.”
Adams said she was allowed to speak to her husband just before he was taken into custody.
She explained, “And he wanted to explain to me in his own words what the situation was because he’s like…’it’s not how it sounds.”
Is it possible that Mathis has been set up or the crime isn’t as bad as the article makes it out to be? It’s possible but not likely. Someone would have had to have gone to a lot of trouble to plant child porn on his phone. That’s some Lifetime movie of the week kind of framing if you ask me.
28-year-old Daniel Tejeda, of Providence, Rhode Island, was recently indicted on first-degree murder charges for the death of 24-year-old Ashley Masi. Masi was found unresponsive back in March by police doing a welfare check on her. Police discovered that Ms. Masi was working as a prostitute on Backpage. Investigators say that Tejada responded to her Backpage ad and somewhere along the line allegedly strangled her to death. Unfortunately Ms. Masi left behind three young children who are now in state care. Tejada is already in jail on unrelated charges.
Hopefully with the recent financial blows dealt to Backpage no further blood will be spilled over what Backpage calls a free speech issue.
Lucas Michael Chansler
31-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler, formerly of St. John’s, Florida, is spending 105 years in prison on child porn charges after pleading guilty in 2014. Chanlser would pose as a 15-year-old on MySpace, Stickam, and AIM to solicit underage girls for explicit pictures. Once he started getting pictures from the victim he would extort them into giving him more by threatening to post them online or send them to the victim’s friend. All told, federal investigators say that Chansler had 350 victims. So far only 109 of his victims have been identified and the FBI is still searching for the other 241 victims. The feds also say that pictures of 49 of his victims are still being traded among pedophiles today. This article has a list of many of the usernames he used on the various platforms.
For those of you who may not remember, Stickam was a video chat site that was constantly embroiled in controversy. The website shut down for good in early 2013.
Additional details about this story and tips on how to avoid this kind of extortion can be found at the FBI website.
I’ve posted about the modeling scam many times before. Basically how it works is an online predator will pose as someone in charge of a modeling agency and will solicit underage girls for explicit photos or even try to get the girls to travel them for either molestation or child prostitution. I’ve posted about the scam being used on MySpace, Facebook, and craigslist so it should come as no surprise it’s showing up on Kik.
An unnamed man from Tallmadge, Ohio, is being investigated after his wife allegedly found a secret cell phone he was using to solicit underage girls on Kik, one may have even been as young as 12. He would allegedly tell the girls that he would need the photos in order to see if he would take them on as clients.
Normally this is where I would tell parents to make sure they know which apps their kids are using and who their friends on those apps are. However this time I’m going to add that maybe you should talk to your daughters, and sons if they’re aspiring models, that authentic modeling agencies probably wouldn’t circumvent parents in searching for talent and they definitely wouldn’t use Kik. You may also want to remind them that not everyone can make it into modeling and that it’s one of those ‘win the lottery type odds’ kind of careers.
UPDATE 7/27/2015: The suspect has been identified as 28-year-old Justin Snyder.
Fisher and Jeune
34-year-old Sanisha Johnson, of the Bronx, was shot and killed while working as a prostitute on Backpage in Burlington, Massachusetts. Charged in her murder are 24-year-old Epshod Jeune and 21-year-old Derrell Fisher, both of Roxbury, Mass.
The pair was allegedly robbing escorts in the area as one escort who was robbed was able to tip police off to Ms. Johnson’s alleged killers. If this sounds familiar it’s because it was the same racket Philip Markoff was running when he killed Julissa Brisman after using craigslist to find his victims. The Boston media is already making that comparison.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling for Backpage to shut down its ads for prostitution. However, Backpage may already be on its way out since the major credit card companies stopped allowing their cards, pre-paid and otherwise, to be used on Backpage. Currently the only form of payment they’re accepting is Bitcoin which isn’t exactly the easiest form of payment to use.
Will the attention brought on Backpage by this murder be the final nail in their coffin? One can only hope that will be a positive that comes out of this senseless tragedy.
27-year-old Scott Jurewicz of Jackson, Michigan, has been charged with the murder of two children only weeks aprt from each other. It was a perfect storm of red tape and bad decisions that allowed the second murder to take place.
Back in March, Jurewucz was living with the mother of Brenden Hartranft when the 18-month-old was unresponsive. He was on life support three days before finally passing. The hospital told Brenden’s mother that Brenden may have died from a spinal injury. Police believed Jurewucz was the only suspect. Prosecutors said they wouldn’t issue an arrest warrant for Brenden’s murder against Jurewucz until they had the autopsy report back. IN the meantime Brenden’s mother filed all sorts of protection orders against Jurewucz but he allegedly ignored them continually.
While prosecutors were waiting for the autopsy report Jurewucz moved in with another woman. According to court documents the woman was allegedly warned that she may not want to leave her children alone with him. She is said to have replied that she trusts him with her children and that she believed Jurewucz was being set-up. Then in late May, that woman’s 21-month-old son, Jesse Pepper Jr., was also dead. A day after Jesse’s death prosecutors received the autopsy report for Brenden that he died from blunt force trauma and arrested Jurewucz for his murder.
Unfortunately CPS could not remove the children from the second woman’s home as Michigan law states they can only be removed with evidence of abuse.
Jurewucz has not yet been charged in Jesse’s death yet possibly because prosecutors are awaiting on the outcome for his trial for Brenden’s murder. He is facing a mandatory life sentence in that case.
My description of the stalking that Jurewucz allegedly perpetrated is not even scratching the surface to describe the horror that he is said to have put Brenden’s mother through. I urge you to read the links below to see the extent of the harassment. When someone has had a protection order filed against them, as useless as they can be, it’s usually for a good reason and they’re normally not being ‘set up’. Abusers are usually liars and manipulators as well and are not to ever be trusted.
Here are some tips on what you can do in case you’re being stalked.
Thanks to Soobs for the tip.
Boyfriend charged with killing 18-month-old is also person of interest in another child death
Target 8: Two dead children, one suspect
‘He thought it was funny,’ said child’s mother who was stalked by suspected killer
Nathan Alexander Bryan (HULK SIT BABY)
The FBI recently arrested 39-year-old Nathan Bryan, of Bradenton, Florida, for allegedly trying to solicit children for sex by advertising his babysitting services on craigslist. Federal investigators believe that Bryan was using these ads to gain access to kids.
Reports say that the FBI posed as a father who was offering their child for sex on craigslist when they were contacted by Bryan.
For more than a year, the FBI says Bryan has been chatting online with an undercover agent posing as the father of an 8-year-old boy. Investigators say Bryan spelled out what he’d like to do to the child saying, “I just want to smell him and taste him.”
The feds set up a meeting place where Bryant was arrested. They’re also requesting help from the public if they had any kind of baby sitting contact with Bryan.
The CETF is asking anyone who has information about this matter or who may have hired Bryan for the above services to contact the FBI Tampa Field Office at 1-866-838-1153 or at [email protected]
What really surprised me was the reaction by his landlord. He didn’t approve of what Bryan did but…
“I thought he was very dedicated to the children he took care of. And he loved his nannying. Sure, I knew he was getting jobs by posting, but everyone uses Craigslist. It didn’t bring up any red flags or anything,” the landlord tells 10 News.
Yes, everyone uses craigslist, especially predators.
The unconscious Tim LeBlanc
27-year-old Tim LeBlanc, of Spring Valley, California, allegedly tried to get a 12-year-old girl into his vehicle in the middle of the night. He allegedly met the girl on Instagram and communicated with her on Kik. What he didn’t figure on was a vigilant father.
The girl’s father claims he routinely gets up in the middle of the night to check on hos kids. He says he found his daughter’s window open then hopped in his vehicle to go find her. He is said to have found her down the street getting into LeBlanc’s vehicle. LeBlanc allegedly claimed to the man he was only 16 and eventually took a swing at the man. The father is said to have knocked out LeBlanc with a single punch, hence the picture above.
Good on this dad for being so attentive. Now while I’m not deriding this father I personally am of the opinion that 12-year-olds do not need to be on any social apps at that age. I get the feeling that his daughter won’t be going forward.
This week both Visa and MasterCard said that their cards will no longer be able to be used to place ads on Backpage. Both credit card companies had been asked by Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart to discontinue doing business with Backpage over the obvious human trafficking that takes place on the site. Sheriff Dart has been one of the leading critics of Backpage for some time.
“Backpage has significantly lowered the barrier to entry for would-be sex traffickers, giving them easy access to millions of johns while cloaking them in anonymity and putting all risk on the shoulders of their victims,” Dart said in a statement on Tuesday. “Raising that barrier will lead to less would-be sex traffickers entering the business and ultimately less victims.”
This has to be a huge blow to Backpage as a lot of the money used to pay for ads come from pre-paid Visas and MasterCards. American Express stopped letting Backpage be used by their cardholders earlier this year.
And the cherry on top of this sundae is when reached for comment Backpage’s head legal weasel Liz McDougall had nothing to say.
Liz McDougall, senior counsel for Backpage, declined to comment.
That’s a minor miracle in itself.
I guess we’ll see pimps and traffickers setting up their own bitcoin rigs now.