Sex worker advocate says backpage.com case prosecuting the wrong people
A woman accused of prostituting an underage teen on Backpage.com appeared Monday in Sacramento Superior Court.
Sacramento County prosecutors say Kayla Gemini Randall, held the 15-year-old, listed as a missing person, against her will and posted online ads offering the girl for sex acts.
Randall, 19, appeared for a bail review on charges of unlawfully causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and pandering by encouraging a minor under the age of 16 to become a prostitute.
Prosecutors sought $1 million bail for Randall, held in Sacramento County Main Jail since her September arrest in Citrus Heights. Judge Michael Bowman, citing Randall’s lack of a criminal record, levied bail at $200,000 at the Monday hearing.
Randall will return to court Oct. 25 for a judge to set the preliminary hearing date.
Backpage.com CEO Carl Ferrer and controlling investors Michael Lacey and James Larkin face felony charges in Sacramento Superior Court including pimping of a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping.
Ferrer is accused of using Backpage.com to run a multimillion-dollar sex trafficking and prostitution ring after a three-year investigation by the California and Texas attorney general’s offices.
Ferrer faces 10 felony charges connected to the allegations. Lacey and Larkin, controlling shareholders in the site, face charges of conspiracy to commit pimping. All were freed on bail from Sacramento County Main Jail following a closed-door bail hearing Oct. 13.
Ferrer, Lacey and Larkin will return to court Nov. 13, where defense attorneys plan to argue against the complaint brought by state prosecutors, saying it violates their clients’ First Amendment rights.