The web site, Craigslist, has taken down its "erotic services" section, but it continues to be monitored by police officers in the Tri-Cities and Yakima.
Many people are talking about craigslist.org, but it's not all good news. Former Boston University student, Philip Markoff, has been charged in the fatal shooting of a masseuse he met on the advertising web site. Just last week five men were arrested in New York on charges of allegedly running a prostitution ring through the web site.
The erotic services section has since been removed, and the site's CEO is backing its name. When asked if he thought the web site promotes prostitution, he replied:
"Absolutely not. We prohibit all illegal activity. We have a lot of protective measures in place. Our users are empowered by our flagging system to remove any ad that they feel is inappropriate. We are adopting a bunch of additional measures, like telephone verification and credit card authorization which have dramatically reduced the criminal activity on the site."
And State Attorney General, Rob McKenna says the foundation for a safer web site is in place. "They have the right words on the screen. The question is are they going to continue to enforce it and screen out the inappropriate content?" Said McKenna.
The online advertising guru hasn't escaped all criticism. The site still posts explicit adult ads; some even with graphic nudity. They're just under a different section of the web site.
Detectives with the Kennewick Police Department say that's not illegal. Det. Rick Rungel says, "as far as advertising for sexual gratification, without the promise of something in return, no it's not illegal as long as they're two consenting adults."
Still, in the last week alone, there were three arrests in Kennewick for lewd conduct and two arrests made in Yakima in the last few months. All tips started on craigslist.
For now, the web site has calmed a number of fears. But officials say the true test is time. They will continue to monitor all adult material online.
We e-mailed craigslist yesterday, asking them if they're filtering the ads on the casual encounter section, they didn't get back to us.