Though Backpage.com began as a classifieds section for used kayaks, modeling gigs, and apartment rentals, the site has largely been taken over by prostitution advertisements. Today, Backpage.com serves more than 600 cities and runs hundreds of thousands of unscreened ads daily.
In Colorado and other jurisdictions across the country, law enforcement officials are using Backpage.com as a tool to crack down on prostitution and other sex crimes. Typically, law enforcement agencies will post on Backpage.com advertising sexual services. Though the advertisements claim to have been posted by consenting adults, they are actually a ploy to catch child predators and prostitution solicitors.
In Fort Collins, a group of men recently learned about Backpage.com prostitution stings the hard way.
Last month, Fort Collins police posted as escorts advertising for sexual services on Backpage.com. The ads offered sex and full body massages at Fort Collins hotels.
Eight men responded to the advertisement, including a Greenly high school teacher, a pastor, and a prominent businessman known for his active involvement in charities. When each of these men arranged for a private meetup, they were met by local officers and arrested.
All eight of the men were arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute and soliciting. Their arrests are the most recent in a string of recent prostitution stings in Colorado, where law enforcement agencies are seeking to crack down on prostitution crimes.
Prostitution Crimes in Colorado
Colorado is thought to be a major hub for prostitution and sex trafficking because of its central location and system of major interstates. The vast majority of these crimes occur on the internet, with users soliciting services in a hotel.
Some of the most common examples of prostitution-related sex crimes in Colorado include:
Soliciting. You can be charged with soliciting a prostitute if you request prostitution services from someone or if you arrange or offer to arrange a meeting for the purpose of prostitution. You could also be charged with soliciting for directing someone to a place of prostitution.
Patronizing a prostitute. Soliciting and patronizing charges often go hand in hand. In Colorado, you can be charged with patronizing a prostitute after you actually engage in a sexual act with a prostitute, or if you visit a place of prostitution with the intention of engaging in a sexual act.
Prostitution. It is also illegal under Colorado law to perform, offer, or agree to perform any kind of sexual service in exchange for money or something of value.
Child prostitution. Colorado has tough laws against soliciting or patronizing a prostituted minor. You can be charged with patronizing a prostitute, even if you were unaware that the individual was under 18.
Colorado law treats does not look favorably on prostitution crime offenders, and all types of prostitution crimes are penalized with severe consequences in our state. Whether you are charged with prostitution, soliciting a prostitute, or patronizing a prostitute, you are facing a lengthy jail sentence, a hefty fine, and a lifelong criminal record. In addition, your name, mugshot, and offense may be publicized in local news releases and on social media pages, causing embarrassment and alienation from your community for both you and your family.
Any type of prostitution crime requires a strong defense—consult with a Denver prostitution defense attorney as soon as possible. There are several powerful defenses to prostitution crimes in Colorado, including entrapment, insufficient evidence, and mistaken identity. Your attorney can help you identify the most effective strategy for your unique case, and help you build a tough, individualized defense. With a skilled attorney in your corner, you may be able to avoid jail time, fines, and a lifelong stain on your reputation.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.