22-year-old James Banks, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was recently indicted for allegedly not only raping a woman twice but trying to force her to prostitute herself for him. Banks was already being held on $150,000 cash only bail for the alleged rapes of three other women, two of whom he met through Backpage.
I constantly hear from the promoters of the consenting adults myth that sites like Backpage make sex workers safer. Since the beginning I have contended that it not true since using Backpage allows these women to be delivered into the hands of sexual predators. I doubt that Banks’ victims from Backpage felt very safe…
An affidavit by detective Kristyn Bernier alleges Banks met one of the victims, identified as “T,” through an ad she had on Backpage advertising massages. The woman, age 21, told police she was raped by Banks in his Richards Avenue apartment on Jan. 15, 2015, when he said he had a gun, that he had “killed somebody” and “tried to strangle” her.
A woman identified by Bernier as “F” reported that Banks answered an ad she had on Backpage and said she was also raped in his apartment, which was padlocked from the exterior. That woman, age 27, said her cellphone was taken from her so she couldn’t call for help and that she escaped by jumping out a third-story window.
No woman, no matter her profession, whether chosen or otherwise, deserves to be raped. However you can’t pretend that Backpage is some magic shield that will keep you safe from rapists or violent pimps. If anything it’s more of a shopping list for predators like this.
UPDATE 3/19/2016: After a mistrial Banks pleaded guilty to two felony counts of second-degree assault and one felony for unlawful restraint and was sentenced to one year behind bars. One of the victims allegedly lied on the stand.