Coakley Takes Aim At Craigslist's Adult Section

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Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is calling for the website Craigslist to shut down its adult services section.

Coakley says operators of the site should be held responsible for criminal acts and activities that occur in conjunction with the site's listings.

"Whether it's physical assault, sexual assaults, the kinds of prostitution and, some instances, homicides that have occurred as a result of what is un-policed trafficking online around the human sex trade," she said.

The attorney general's call comes days after the suicide of so-called "Craigslist killer" Philip Markoff, who allegedly killed a masseuse whose listing he found on the site's erotic services section.

Coakley wants Congress to change a 1996 federal law that gives online middlemen immunity from prosecution for the illegal activities of a website's users. She notes that most media outlets can be sued for libel or slander.

"The Internet is exempt from that," she said. "And that may have made sense in 1996, but the consequences of no policing, no ability to enforce what is a level playing field for the Internet, has had all kinds of consequences."

Saying her main concern is keeping the public safe, Coakley plans to hold hearings this fall to gather evidence.

This program aired on August 20, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.