The founder of Craigslist does not plan to close the "erotic services" section of the Web site despite criticism that has intensified after a medical student was accused of killing a Boston masseuse who advertised there.
Craig Newmark contends his site already allows users to flag inappropriate material they believe should be removed.
"Sometimes a bad guy of some sort tries to pull a fast one on our site," he said in an interview that aired Friday night on ABC News. "We don't want it there, it's wrong, and that's why we have the help of the general community and the law enforcement community getting rid of things like that."
Newmark's comments defied a request by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who asked Craigslist to immediately eliminate photographs in the "erotic services" section, hire staff to screen images and ads that violate the site's terms of service and fine users who violate those terms.
The call for action follows the arrest of Philip Markoff, a Boston University medical student charged with killing Julissa Brisman, a 25-year-old masseuse, on April 14 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. He also is charged in a robbery at a nearby hotel of another masseuse police say he met through the Craigslist classified ads Web site.
He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer, John Salsberg, has said he is innocent of the charges.
A law enforcement official said Friday that Markoff's fingerprint was found on a wall of the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, R.I. where a stripper has said she was tied up and held at gunpoint by a man she met through the site. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.
The official also said Markoff sent text messages from the hotel but said he didn't have information about what he said or to whom he wrote. Markoff has not been charged in Rhode Island.
Markoff, who was arrested during a traffic stop Monday as he drove to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, was placed on suicide watch at the Boston jail where he was being held after authorities reportedly found shoelace marks on his neck. His fiancee said earlier in the week that she supported him and didn't think he was capable of hurting anyone.
Markoff's parents, brother and sister-in-law visited him on Friday at the jail.
The parents, Susan Haynes and Richard Markoff, did not speak to reporters about their son, but his attorney said on their behalf that they love him very much and support him.
"They, of course, remain very concerned about him," said Salsberg, who would not discuss his client's condition.
Meanwhile, Brisman's mother, Carmen Guzman, said in a statement Friday that losing her daughter to such a violent death will "haunt me for the rest of my life." She said she was "relieved that the man who did this is in custody."
Suffolk County prosecutors in Massachusetts said they have placed an ad on Craigslist in an attempt to find other women who may have been victimized by Markoff.