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Craigslist Will Keep 'Erotic Services'

Despite law enforcement requests, ad section will continue, founder says

Craigslist Will Keep 'Erotic Services'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Craigslist isn't closing down the well-visited "erotic services" section of the ad-posting site, though it will continue to work to remove "inappropriate" material.

Appearing on ABC's Nightline Friday night during a report on the so-called "Craigslist Killer" -- a Boston medical student charged with killing a masseuse and possibly committing other murders -- site founder Craig Newmark said users already "flag" questionable postings.

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"Sometimes a bad guy of some sort tries to pull a fast one on our site," he told ABC interviewer Martin Bashir. "We don't want it there -- it's wrong -- and that's why we have the help of the general community and the law enforcement community getting rid of things like that."

As reported Thursday by AVN.com, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Craigslist outlining steps to combat the proliferation of prostitution and pornography on the ad site, including the banning of photos in the erotic services section and the hiring of staff to screen for violating images.

"My first reaction is sympathy. I mean, I feel pretty bad for the victims and their families. I don't like it at all," Newmark told ABC.

"Beyond that, well, how would you feel if ... the bad guy watched what you do on TV and started calling [you] the 'ABC Killer?' That's pretty much how I'm reacting."

While the CL erotic section has previously come under fire, the heat turned up last week following the arrest of Boston University medical student Philip Markoff, accused of killing Julissa Brisman, a 25-year-old masseuse, on April 14 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. Police claim he arranged their meeting through Brisman's ad on Craigslist and charge Markoff also robbed another masseuse from the site at another hotel.

Markoff has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer said he is innocent.

Police said Friday his fingerprint was found on a wall of a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, R.I. where a stripper claimed she was tied up and held at gunpoint by a man she met through Craigslist, though that case is still under investigation. It's been alleged Markoff sent text messages from the hotel.

It's also been suggested Markoff targeted men as well, and an anonymous Boston-area man told NBC he met the med student in the "M4T" (man fortranssexual) section of Craigslist's "Casual Encounters," reports Women on the Web .

Despite accusations that Craigslist enables and aids in prostitution, including a lawsuit filed in Illinois by the Cook Country Sheriff's office, Internet legal experts believe such actions won't be effective as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states websites are immune from liability when users of the site violate state law.

Craigslist has claimed that erotic services postings have dwindled since new restrictions and criteria were put into place.






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