SACRAMENTO (AP) — The operators of an international website that advertises escort services face their first court appearances on California charges that they profited from aiding the trafficking of prostitutes, including minors.

Carl Ferrer, the 55-year-old CEO of, is charged with pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping. The former owners of the Village Voice in New York City, 68-year-old Michael Lacey and 67-year-old James Larkin, are charged with conspiracy to commit pimping.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris says they are the website’s controlling shareholders.

Pimping includes making money from prostitutes or soliciting customers for prostitution.

The three are set to appear in Sacramento County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Their attorneys aren’t commenting.

Backpage’s lawyer called the arrests “an election year stunt” as Harris runs for the U.S. Senate.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)




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