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Judge Tosses Craigslist Prostitution Lawsuit

(CN) - A federal judge in Chicago dismissed a lawsuit that sought to eliminate prostitution ads on Craigslist. U.S. District Judge John Grady said not all postings on the site's "adult services" section were for prostitution, and other services could legitimately appear.

"A woman advertising erotic dancing for male clients is offering an adult service, yet this is not prostitution," Grady wrote.

Grady found that such an ad could even be entitled to limited protection under the First Amendment. He also said that Craigslist is not liable if entities post ads that go against the company's anti-prostitution guidelines.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart filed the lawsuit in March, claiming a change in the category name from "erotic services" to "adult services" did not stop prostitutes from advertising on the site.

Dart told the Associated Press that his department has made hundreds of prostitution arrests from Craigslist over the past two years. He said his investigators scan the list for phone numbers, arrange to meet the prostitutes in hotels and arrest them when they offer sex for money.

"Sheriff Dart may continue to use Craigslist's Web site to identify and pursue individuals who post allegedly unlawful content," Grady wrote. "But he cannot sue Craigslist for their conduct."

Dart said he still hasn't decided whether he'll appeal.

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