Owners of City Pages to split company

The City Pages newspaper in the Twin Cities is splitting away from the classified site Backpage.com, along with a dozen other alternative newsweeklies owned by Village Voice Media.

Backpage has drawn fire for its adult ads, which critics say promote child sex trafficking.

Now a group of managers has lined up private equity financing to buy the papers from Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, who will run Backpage on their own. Village Voice Media Chief Operating Officer Scott Tobias will head the new company. He says the controversy has been a distraction to the newspapers.

In a statement, Larkin and Lacey said they are ready to move on and hand the papers' reins to a new generation.

The Rev. Katharine Henderson is president of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York and a critic of Backpage. "There are dozens of confirmed reports of underage children trafficked on the site. And that's not going to change by splitting off the business of the newspaper from Backpage.com," Henderson said.

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