You don’t normally hear about the johns that are busted using Backpage. More often than not it’s the pimps that you hear about but it seems that we have a special case in 55-year-old Richard Purnell of Parma, Ohio.
Purnell was arrested earlier this month for allegedly ‘patronizing’ a 14-year-old girl that was being trafficked on Backpage. Investigators say that they came across Purnell while investigating an alleged pimp, who was formerly featured on the site, by the name of Ronnie Pratt Jr.
Don’t think that this was a case of ‘I didn’t know she was underage’ either. Not only did Purnell allegedly send thousands of texts to a number of underage girls on Backpage, but he also is said to have threatened the girl by saying he would shoot her if anyone found out about them.
It’s not just the pimps that act violently towards the girls and women who are trafficked on Backpage. The johns can be just as, if not more, violent than the pimps. While Purnell is looking at a decade or more behind bars, we need more sentences and penalties like this for johns. Cut off the demand and there’s no need for a supply. Make the risk much greater than the reward. Not sending slime like this to jail is only fighting half of the problem. It’s like locking your back door while leaving the front door wide open.
UPDATE 7/31/2017: Purnell was sentenced to 17 1/2 years after being convicted last year.