In my previous post, I discussed how craigslist shuttered its personal section in anticipation of the FOSTA law. Many in tech circles have lamented the loss of craigslist personals as if it was some place where wholesome couples would meet so they could attend church and ice cream socials together. What they’re conveniently forgetting is that the personals section of craigslist had a much more sinister undercurrent that not much of the public was aware of.
Sadly, this is not just a one-off occurrence as the Craigslist personals have a long history of this type of activity. This wasn’t even the youngest victim to ever be sold through craigslist as an Idaho man tried selling a 3-year-old girl through craigslist. In either case, none of the ads were flagged by craigslist’s community policing. For those of you who try to say that this will drive the predators underground, that’s the whole point. Without such a platform like craigslist, predators will have one less highly trafficked platform to find their victims and reprehensible parents won’t have the marketplace to sell their kids.
Back in March, which is going to be a recurring theme for a while, before FOSTA was signed into law, and before Backpage was taken down, craigslist took it upon themselves to remove the personal ads section from their website including the casual encounters section. Anyone clicking on any of the personal ad links on craigslist are met with the above message. As is usually the case with craigslist, they’re playing the victim over something they should have done years ago.
To hear craigslist tell it, they sound like FOSTA is about to kill all romance on the internet. What craigslist isn’t telling you is that their personal ads, like most sections of their site, have long been the home of criminal activity. When craigslist shut down its erotic services section after public pressure, whatever human trafficking ads didn’t move to Backpage moved to craigslist’s personals section. That’s not even taking into account that craigslist’s casual encounters section was often used by child predators looking for their next victim. So while craigslist is acting like some kind of martyr, let it never be forgotten that their personals section has mostly been a cesspool of crime.
Craigslist has only itself to blame since they failed to monitor their own site for decades.
If you’ve been reading this site for any substantial amount of time, you’ll recognize the name Tom Dart. He is the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, which is one of the largest jurisdictions in the country. Sheriff Dart is also one of the most dedicated opponents of Backpage. He is largely credited as being the man who got the credit card companies to stop doing business with Backpage, even though Backpage had an injunction placed on him from doing so in the future.
Sheriff Dart recently spoke with the press to say that he is skeptical of Backpage’s recent actions of shuttering the adult section of their site. That section of Backpage housed thinly veiled ads for prostitution and child prostitution. Sheriff Cook also stated that the prostitution ads have merely moved to the personals section of the site. As I previously posted, while it may be free to place a personal ad on Backpage, you still have to pay for upgrades to make the ad more visible.
A couple days after Backpage made the switch, Dart said his officers set up a “date” with one of the women advertising on the site and confirmed she was charging for sex.
“We went out and arrested a person off the site,” he said. “We answered one of their ads and it was no different.”
So the fight is still far from over. While Backpage may have made a grand gesture, along with complaining about how their supposed free speech rights have been trampled, women and girls are still being trafficked on Backpage. Backpage may claim that the ads being posted in the personals are out of their hands, but as we all know they have a staff of moderators that the Senate alleges edited the prostitution ads to make them appear more legitimate. If they can use their moderators for that then they can use them to keep sex trafficking ads out of the personals, but I highly doubt they will.
As you can see by the graphic I posted above, the Cleveland personals section is flooded with thinly veiled ads for prostitution. While it is free to post ads in the personals section, there are upgrades you can buy to keep your ads in better positioning and circulation. Also, as we know, Backpage does in fact have moderators that work for them, but obviously they’re turning a blind eye to the personals section now, or worse they’re still allegedly editing the ads and coaching the ad posters to make them look less illegal.
The bottom line is that as of right now women and children are still being trafficked on Backpage, absolutely nothing has changed and we should not let Backpage get away with this.
As the officer was browsing other personal ads, he found one describing a man as someone who “just love[s] the sound of a girl’s genuine laughter. The best way to solicit such laughter is to tickle her.”
Yeah, that ad couldn’t have possibly have been written by some kind of predator.
As has become the norm he was contacted by investigators posing as a 13-year-old girl. Allegedly that prospect thrilled Sherry to no end…
Using the false persona, the officer asked Sherry what would happen if they met up. Sherry reportedly told the officer he wanted to “make out and have sex.” The officer asked if Sherry really wanted to have sex with a 13-year-old. According to police reports, Sherry said, “Well, yeah.”
Police reports state Sherry continually shared how much he wanted to have sex with the 13-year-old girl, and described in lengthy and graphic detail what would happen if they met up.
Police continued these conversations with Sherry for six months. So at his arrest after this six month investigation Sherry said he didn’t know if he would have actually gone through with having sex with a 13-year-old girl. That’s an answer that could have made Chris Hansen’s head explode.
Police should really start billing craigslist for trying to clean up craigslist’s own yard.
Recently 25-year-old Nicholas Blinn of Danville, Indiana was arrested for allegedly molesting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. It turns out that he may have many more victims.
According to police Blinn said that he often scours craigslist in search of sex with boys. He may have molested boys in four Indiana counties. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg in this story.
Blinn also said that he would often meet people for sex off of craigslist and that some of them turned out to be ‘too young’ for him.
Do you see this craigslist? This is your clientele. Besides child molesters they’re pimps, thieves, killers and con men. Yet you still refuse to do any kind of moderation in the personals or casual encounters sections.
How many more children have to be violated before you do anything about this?
How does the saying go? All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Or for greedy men to turn a blind eye to what they know is wrong.
This seems to have been the week for craigslist murders. One I’m sure you heard of and then this one which you may not have.
In Frederick, Colorado 42-year-old Thomas Bashline was found by his girlfriend in his bedroom shot to death on November 4th. Bashline was a trainer for the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. Some investigators believe that Bashline was killed by a man he met on craigslist in the m4m section of the personals. Police have a suspect in custody but have not released his name.
Guys, I don’t care if you’re openly gay or on the down low but for the love of Elton John please stop using craigslist for anonymous hook ups. I’ve posted stories about men being robbed, blackmailed and now murdered. Is it really worth it?
More details on this as they become available and as time permits.
After a review of said tapes two of the three victims were deemed unreliable and charges for those two alleged rapes were dropped. However one of the rape charges is still going forward. Hoffman’s bond was reduced from $3M to $450K.
I still think that his career as a sexual harassment attorney has to be over at this point.
44-year-old Patrick D’Arrigo of Gilroy, California is/was a cop in San Jose, California. He’s been indicted on such charges as child porn and child molestation.
Investigators allege that he met two boys ages, 17 and 15, on craigslist in the M4M personals in 2008. The ad was placed by a third-party who said he was 18 but was actually 17.
Allegedly D’Arrigo met the kid who posted the ad then arranged to meet the other kids at his house where the kids were said to have been molested. Investigators also say that there is evidence to show that D’Arrigo knew the boys were underage.
That investigation led to a search of D’Arrigo’s home which turned up a plethora of child porn which leads police to believe that he may have had other victims.
Anyone who wishes to contact the Gilroy Police Department about the current allegations against D’Arrigo should call 408-846-0350.
To make matters worse D’Arrigo was also a campus officer at a local high school. It’s not known yet if he had any victims there.
Not surprisingly D’Arrigo was placed on PAID leave following his arrest. Again, what does it take to be placed on unpaid leave? Do you have to blow up a bus full of nuns or something?
This goes to show that on craigslist even the cops can be criminals. When your site is free and unmoderated it attracts every level of the criminal element.
I originally posted about 50-year-old Robert Michael Hoffman of San Francisco here. He’s the sexual harassment lawyer accused of raping three women that he met through the craigslist personals for ‘rough sex’.
He now says that a sex tape with one of the victims will prove that the sex was consensual.
I don’t see how one tape will exonerate him for 3 rapes. The late Johnnie Cochran couldn’t even make that happen. Not to mention that any kind of video can be manipulated nor edited to have the defense show what it wants.
Of course the scumbag’s scumbag…I mean Hoffman’s attorney is blaming the victim…
“This witness lied blatantly about what occurred,” Hanlon later said.
Ok, but what about the other two victims?
And again I’m not blaming the victims because Hoffman didn’t have to ‘allegedly’ rape them, but if you’re meeting guys over craigslist for one night stands you are absolutely taking your life and safety in your own hands. Please be smarter than that.