An Illinois sheriff has been on a crusade to shut down the Craigslist sex trade. His quest hit a major road-block this week after a federal judge dismissed his request to force the web site to eliminate its erotic services category.
Earlier this year, just before Craigslist-killer Philip Markoff was making news for allegedly murdering prostitutes he met on the classified ad site, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco-based company asking a judge to order it to eliminate its erotic services category.
Dart called Craigslist the "single largest source of prostitution in the nation."
"Craigslist unabashedly facilitates prostitution, then ultimately makes a profit from it," Dart said in a release, pointing to the estimated $80 million in revenues Craigslist generated in 2009.
U.S. District Judge John F. Grady didn’t agree.
"Sheriff Dart may continue to use Craigslist's Web site to identify and pursue individuals who post allegedly unlawful content," Grady wrote in his ruling. "But he cannot sue Craigslist for their conduct."
Craigslist, however, has changed its rules for the category.
Last November, Craigslist pledged to crack down on prostitution ads as part of an agreement with several attorneys general. It said it would require anyone who posts such an ad to provide a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card.