Ill. AG: Craigslist dropping 'erotic services' ads -

Ill. AG: Craigslist dropping 'erotic services' ads

CHICAGO (AP) -- Online classified ads site Craigslist will get rid of its controversial "erotic services" category that critics called a front for prostitution, replacing it with an adult category reviewed by Web site employees, state attorneys general announced Wednesday.

Pressure to remove the category ramped up this spring when a Boston medical student was charged with killing a masseuse authorities allege he met through Craigslist. It also comes two months after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart filed a lawsuit alleging that Craigslist not only allows the solicitation of prostitution but had created what he called the "largest source of prostitution in America."

And Craigslist has been under fire around the country, including in Connecticut. After being contacted about several complaints about photographs depicting nudity, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal brokered an agreement with the site in November to crack down on prostitution ads.

An e-mail sent to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and a phone call to a Craigslist lawyer were not immediately returned Wednesday morning.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the attorneys general for Connecticut and Missouri met with Craigslist officials last week seeking an end to ads they contend are advertisements for illegal sexual activities.

Madigan's office said Wednesday such existing ads on the site will expire in seven days.

"We're very encouraged that Craigslist is doing the right thing in eliminating its online red light district with prostitution and pornography in plain sight. We'll be watching and investigating critically to make sure this measure is more than just a name change," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"This is a good next step but by no means is it the ultimate or complete solution," he said.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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