A man in Aberdeen, Washington, was held captive and beaten by three people who thought the man burglarized their home. The people had originally caught two other people who were trying to rob their home. The robbers indicated a third person was involved in the robbery. Rather than calling police they tracked down this man through OfferUp. The victim was selling a phone through the app and when he got to the meeting place the people tied him up and pistol whipped him before calling police.
“The way the guy looked when he was trying to cock his gun and it jammed,” Peterson explains. “He got mad at me because he couldn’t knock me out so he just kept beating me even harder with the bat. I thought this is it, you know?”
Needless to say, the would be crimefighters were arrested and the victim is not believed to have had any actual involvement in the robbery.
So first off, the vigilantes actually believed the word of two other people who broke into their home. Why would criminals have any reason to lie, right? Secondly, while bizarre and unlikely to happen, this is just another reason to use a police station for a meeting place when using an app like OfferUp. Lastly, leave the crime fighting to the professionals. You’re not Batman, you’re not The Punisher, hell, you’re not even Hawkeye.
Back in 2012, three women filed a lawsuit against Backpage in the state of Washington. They claimed they were underage when they were forcibly trafficked for sex on the website. Previous lawsuits like this filed against Backpage have failed, however, in 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the lawsuit could proceed.
Earlier today it was reported Backpage settled the lawsuit with these women although the settlement itself has not disclosed to the public.
This story has huge implications when it comes to the future, or lack thereof, of Backpage. The first is that this is obviously an attempt to appease Congress who has been breathing down Backpage’s neck with supposed evidence of criminal activity in the way Backpage edits their ads. The second is that Backpage’s other pending lawsuits against them in the states of Texas, California, and Alabama, may either proceed or be settled as well. These settlements can’t be exactly cheap for Backpage. This could lead to even more lawsuits and more settlements until Backpage is hopefully bankrupt. I could see the triumvirate of Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, and founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin paying out millions of dollars in order to avoid any kind of real prison time.
Maybe, just maybe, this is finally the writing on the wall for Backpage.
(Story broke 5/5/2017)
27-year-old Antoine Joseph Perry of Tacoma, Washington, is accused of allegedly raping three teens in three separate 2016 incidents. In the first case, he is said to have kidnapped an 18-year-old woman at gunpoint, forced her into his car and raped her in an apartment.
In the Snapchat case, Perry, using the screen name FreeGameAP, reportedly met a 15-year-old girl on the photo sharing app and was chatting with the girl for months before showing up at her house late at night. He brought her fast food, like the stereotypical guy from To Catch a Predator, except he didn’t want to just ‘hang out’. When the girl got in his car Perry is said to have touched her inappropriately and when she protested he choked and raped her. This was long before Snap Maps was added as a feature.
In the last known instance, Perry is said to have met another 15-year-old over an unnamed social media platform. He picked up the girl from where a friend of hers was babysitting. He pulled over saying he couldn’t find his phone and when the girl got out to help him look for the phone, he choked and raped her too.
Thankfully, Perry is currently being held without bond.
With the two social media related rapes, it makes me wonder if Perry posed as someone younger than himself. That’s a common trick used by online predators to gain the confidence of their victims and I would hope these girls wouldn’t knowingly get into a car with a man close to his 30s.
As a parent, not only should you be monitoring your kids’ online activity on all of their devices, but you should also explain to them just because someone who says they’re a teenager or they’re harmless doesn’t make it so. When a minor becomes friends with a stranger online, it’s almost like they’re playing Russian Roulette with six bullets.
Chris Wilbanks was a Sergeant with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina. That was until he was arrested for allegedly using the mobile messaging app Kik in order to extort explicit pictures from an 11-year-old girl from Washington.
Using the screen name of ‘Redneck Rick’, Wilbanks is said to have posed as a 14-year-old boy who went to the victim’s school.
Wilbanks asked the girl for photos of her wearing athletic apparel and a swimsuit. Eventually, Wilbanks asked for nude photos of the girl, court records state.
The girl refused at first, but Wilbanks told her he would show the photos to other people unless she sent more, according to the court records.
Court records indicate the girl was visibly upset and crying in several of the images. Wilbanks told her not to look so upset and to smile, according to those records.
Police in Washington were alerted to the messages by the victim’s mother. Homeland Security then became involved in the investigation, which led to the arrest of Wilbanks.
If there is anything lower than a pedophile it has to be someone who’s entrusted to defend the public who’s also a pedophile. Let’s also not forget that no 11-year-old needs to be on Kik, not only becuause Kik’s terms of service require their users to be older, but also because Kik is a hive of sex offenders, pedophiles, and child porn collectors. All your kids need to be on Kik is a phone or tablet and a wi-fi connection.
UPDATE 2/11/2017: This past Thursday, Wilbanks was ordered to remain in custody after he allegedly destroyed evidence. He also cried in court. Authorities say that he also communicated with his victim on Kik while on duty.
He’s looking at 15 to 30 years behind bars.
UPDATE 11/7/2017: Wilbanks has pleaded guilty.
24-year-old Amy Brown of Edmonds, Washington, was arrested for allegedly stabbing her craigslist date in the chest. While the pair laid in a Lynwood, Washington, hotel bed, Brown reportedly kept asking her date if he was a serial killer. When he gave his last reply of ‘no’ Brown replied that she was a serial killer, and stabbed her victim in the chest. The wound was not fatal and the victim was able to escape to a nearby drug store.
When police caught up with Brown in the parking lot of the motel she reportedly told police that she was a ‘loon’ and wanted to be a serial killer. She is also said to have told police that she wanted to kill the man in order to eat his heart.
Sadly, Brown is not the first person to try to use craigslist as their own personal killing ground. A serial killer on Long Island is still at large, and they’re suspected of using craigslist in order to kill several women that advertised as prostitutes on the website.
“Craigslist: The place where serial killers are born.” Great selling point you have there.
UPDATE 9/20/2017: Brown pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder.
UPDATE 10/3/2017: Brown was sentenced to 18 years behind bars.
Five separate underage victims who claim that they were trafficked on Backpage for sex are suing the embattled website in four different states. The victims, ranging in ages from 14 to 16 at the time of the crimes, have filed suits in California, Texas, Washington and Alabama. Previous lawsuits like this have been defeated in the courts because of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, since the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that Backpage allegedly edits the ads to make the victims appear of age, that could make their CDA defense precarious.
The only people who Backpage really listens to are dead Presidents, so hurting them financially really is the best way to put them out of the sex trade business, and yes, they are still making money from sex trafficking ads.
34-year-old Jamin L. Harris of Oregon, was arrested yesterday in Richland, Washington, for allegedly firing off a rifle round in a local motel. The reason Harris fired off the shot was to allegedly intimidate the 26-year-old prostitute he got from Backpage into going to the Bend, Oregon area with him. Harris is said to have gotten into a dispute with the victim over payment, but was intent on kidnapping the woman then killing her once they got near Bend. He sounds like either a serial killer in the making, or a serial killer who’s been lucky up until now.
Those who are proponents of prostitution like to claim that websites like Backpage make it safer for women to engage in sex work. My opinion is that Backpage has the opposite effect. It literally delivers the victim for any potential predator or killer right to their door. If anything Backpage just makes it easier for these cretins to find victims.
Earlier this month 54-year-old Oak Harbor, Washington, police officer, John Little, was charged in Federal Court for allegedly receiving child porn through the mobile messaging app Kik. Reports say that Little received explicit images from a 13-year-old girl in New Mexico who was said to be sending out the images of her own volition. I can hear the ‘entrapment’ birds already. However, not only could Little have rejected the alleged offer for pictures, he didn’t have to allegedly send the girl pictures of his junk in return. He also reportedly admitted to the FBI that he knew the girl was underage.
This was a man who had been a police officer for almost 30 years. While police are human and are prone to mistakes themselves, they do need to be held to a higher standard since they are the ones who we are entrusting to help protect our children from such predators.
Also, this should serve as another reason why parents need to observe their kids’ smart phone or tablet activity when it comes to Kik. No parent wants to find out that their teenager is sending out explicit images to middle-aged strangers.
UPDATE 6/22/2017: Little was sentenced to 3½ years in prison.
Police in the state of Washington, received over a thousand responses after posting ads on craigslist that purported to be offering children for sex. One of the ads was entitled “New to Spokane. Young fam fun.” Out of those thousand responses police managed to arrest 40 people who were looking to basically rape children. Only two of those arrested were registered sex offenders. Even a married couple was arrested where the husband allegedly claimed that his wife had fantasies of having sex with a child but never had the opportunity.
The number of responses to these fake ads show that there are obviously real ads on craigslist where children are being traded for sex. It is well within craigslist’s power to do something about these ads but they continue to fail to do so. Not only are there software solutions to this problem, but there are companies that specialize in moderating this kind of content. In the past craigslist has banned ads for unlocked iPhones when that was still frowned upon but continues to do nothing about the obvious sexual predators that inhabit their site.
The problem is that even with all the bad publicity that craigslist receives for being a blatant repository for the child sex trade, it hasn’t cost the company any money. People still continue to use the site supporting it financially and unfortunately I don’t know what it would take to get people to stop. If child rape isn’t enough to make them quit then I don’t know what is.
39-year-old Christopher Johnston of Ferndale, Washington, was recently arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from a 12-year-old girl he met through craigslist. Johnston is said to have placed an ad on craigslist that said he was looking for a “young lady to spoil.” Johnston was caught near the Canadian border on his bicycle. He was reportedly on his way to meet the girl in Abbotsford, British Columbia. According to Google maps that’s a 30 mile jaunt on a bike. Why is it that a lot of these guys never seem to have cars? As you can probably tell the 12-year-old girl was actually an undercover investigator.
Once again the police are doing the job that craigslist should be doing but since they refuse to monitor their own site incidents like this will continue. Not to mention again that the so-called community police of craigslist are largely useless.
UPDATE 1/29/2017: Johnston was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to attempted travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct.