2 men charged in sex sting connected to adult services section of Backpage.com
KS AG uses case to rehash plea to remove section
10:44 AM, Oct 13, 2010
6:24 PM, Oct 13, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Kansas - Two men have been charged in connection to an online sting
investigation into a popular website and its adult services
Kansas Attorney General Steve Six announced the charges
Wednesday at the Wyandotte County Courthouse.
"Ads soliciting sex, including prostitution and including likely
human trafficking cases involving children, appear to be rampant on
Backpage.com," Six said.
Charged are 27-year-old Spencer Lee Hoff, a from Liberty,
Missouri and 31-year-old Steven Van Loenen of Merriam, Kansas.
"Last month, agents in my office placed ads on Backpage.com
similar to those typically placed by human traffickers and others
offering sex with underage girls," Six said.
Hoff was arrested less than 72 hours after the first ad was
placed. He allegedly came to a location in Wyandotte County hoping
to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, but instead met
Six said the same ad led to Van Loenen’s arrest on Oct. 9,
when he came to another undisclosed location to meet the
14-year-old whom he thought had placed the ad.
"If it wasn't clear before, it should be now - ads placed on
Backpage.com are being used on a daily basis to facilitate sex
crimes against children," Six said. "Without immediate reforms by
Backpage.com, more and more young girls are going to become
At the news conference, Six renewed his call for Backpage.com to
immediately remove its Adult Services section and to put in place
strict manual review policies for ads posted in other sections.
"On behalf of the 20 Attorneys General who I joined in a letter
to Backpage.com, I once again call on the site to take down its
Adult Services section and immediately implement stringent review
standards to put a stop to these ads," Six said Wednesday. "We must
stop the victimization of young girls immediately."
Six said he was “shocked” at the ease his agents had
in finding and apprehending suspects willing to engage in illegal
sexual activity with minors.
“If agents from the Attorney General's office are
solicited this quickly,” Six said, “Imagine how easy it
is for pimps and traffickers to solicit sex.”
Hoff was charged in Wyandotte County with electronic
solicitation and attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a
child. Van Loenen was transported to Shawnee County and charged
with electronic solicitation. His case will be handled by