Pimping Charges Against Backpage.com Chief Executive Tossed Out by Judge

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judge has rejected state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris’ effort to prosecute the operators of Backpage.com, one of the largest online classified advertisement websites, as the “world’s top online brothel” in hosting advertisements for adult services.

Carl Ferrer is shown in a booking photo released Oct. 6, 2016, by the Texas Office of the Attorney General.

Carl Ferrer is shown in a booking photo released Oct. 6, 2016, by the Texas Office of the Attorney General.

The California attorney general’s office had accused the company’s chief executive and former owners of creating a website with knowledge that prostitutes and pimps use it to advertise sexual services, and filed pimping-related charges against them.

State prosecutors alleged the vast majority of the ads are for “adult services” and that the company profited from the sex trafficking of adults and children.

But in a rebuke issued Friday, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael G. Bowman ruled that websites such as Backpage.com are protected from lawsuits when they publish speech posted by other people.

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