Two more Backpage.com execs held without bond in California

10 Oct 2016

All three top executives of Backpage.com are being held without bond in a jail in Sacramento, California, on sex-crime charges. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, listed as owners of the website through a Dutch corporation, were booked late Monday.

Carl Ferrer, CEO of Backpage.com, was arrested last Thursday in Houston and extradited to California, where he is being held without bond pending a hearing later this week.

(For more on the arrests, charges and the like, see this week’s edition of Classified Intelligence Report or click here for our earlier coverage.)

Liz McDougall, a First Amendment attorney who represents Backpage, told the AIM Group in a statement on Friday that the charges were illegal.

“The raid of Backpage.com’s Dallas office and the arrest of its CEO is an election-year stunt, not a good-faith action by law enforcement.

“The complaint and search warrant make clear that (1) prostitution ads violate Backpage.com’s policies against the posting of illegal content, (2) the company blocked the posting of ads using terms that violated those policies, and (3) Backpage.com removed ads when contacted by law enforcement.

“The actions of the California and Texas Attorneys General are flatly illegal. They ignore the holdings of numerous federal courts that the First Amendment protects the ads on Backpage.com.

“The actions of the Attorneys General also violate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act preempting state actions such as this one and immunizing web hosts of third-party created content.

“Backpage.com will take all steps necessary to end this frivolous prosecution and will pursue its full remedies under federal law against the state actors who chose to ignore the law, as it has done successfully in other cases.”

The Arizona Republic reported on the arrests on AzCentral.com.

Share

Peter M. Zollman

Peter M. Zollman brings more than 35 years of media experience to his role as founding principal of the AIM Group / Classified Intelligence Report. He has worked with a wide range of media companies, dot-coms, technology providers and start-ups to develop and expand successful interactive-media services. He is based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., near Orlando.