US: Website shareholders jailed on California pimping charge

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleges that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site. Paxton announced that Ferrer had been arrested Oct. 6, 2016, on a California warrant after arriving in Houston on a flight from Amsterdam.

By: AP | Sacramento | Published:October 11, 2016 7:35 am
California, California sex trafficking, California website sex trafficking, pimping, California pimping charges, sex trafficking in india, latest news, latest world news This photo released by the Texas Office of the Attorney General shows Carl Ferrer. State agents have raided the Dallas headquarters of adult classified ad portal Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Ferrer. (Texas Office of the Attorney General via AP)

California authorities say the former owners of the Village Voice in New York City have been arrested days after they were charged with sex trafficking through their control of an online site that advertises escort services.

Kristin Ford, a spokeswoman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, says 68-year-old Michael Lacey and 67-year-old James Larkin were booked into Sacramento County Jail on Monday.

The controlling shareholders of the site are charged with conspiracy to commit pimping. That’s defined as making money from prostitutes or soliciting customers for prostitution.

Attorneys for the Arizona men, who once owned the Phoenix New Times alternative weekly, did not immediately return telephone messages, but Backpage’s lawyer called the arrests “an election year stunt” as Harris runs for the U.S. Senate.

They are to appear in court Wednesday with Backpage chief executive Carl Ferrer, who was arrested last week.