As we mentioned earlier this week, law enforcement agencies across the Valley are checking out the sleazy, Scottsdale-based porn website Backroom Casting Couch -- and now it's short its best "talent" recruiter.
Antonio Adrian Gonzalez, 28, was arrested yesterday on kiddy-porn charges following a multi-jurisdictional investigation into his web-based "modeling" and photography businesses.
Gonzalez, as multiple sources have confirmed to New Times, is the main recruiter for Backroom Casting Couch, and its star, herpe-plagued Eric Whitaker.
If you're not familiar with how Backroom Casting Couch works, or how Whitaker -- who's seen on the site having unprotected sex with dozens of young women -- has herpes, click here.
According to the Chandler Police Department, detectives in Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Tempe have all received multiple complaints about Gonzalez trying to lure underage girls to appear on "adult websites."
Chandler Sergeant Joe Favazzo tells New Times Backroom Casting Couch is included in those websites.
According to Favazzo, Gonzalez was recruiting underage girls and adults to model for his websites, photosbygonzo.com and gonzomodeling.com. He says Gonzalez had sex with some of the underage girls, photographed it, and sent the images to others.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, in April of 2010, Gonzalez invited a 17-year-old girl to his house at 8854 South Grandview Drive in Tempe to pose for photographs she could use in a portfolio.
During the shoot, Gonzalez tried to pull the girl's skirt down and asked her take some nude photos. The girl declined, but that didn't stop "Gonzo."
Despite the girl shooting down his advances, Gonzalez pulled her onto his lap and tried to untie the bikini top she was wearing. She again told him she wasn't interested in nude photos, which Gonzalez must have interpreted as "I want to touch your penis" because that's what happened next.
After getting shot down twice by the girl, Gonzalez, court docs state, "forced the girl's hand onto his erect penis."
The girl again told him she wasn't interested in anything sexual. Gonzalez responded by taking the girl to his computer and showing her photos of him having sex with a girl the victim knew to be under 19. In fact, it turns out the girl in the photos having sex with Gonzalez was only 16 at the time.
Gonzalez copped to it all. He admitted to knowing the girls were underage, and told police he uses social media websites to recruit girls to appear on Backroom Casting Couch.
Another victim of Gonzalez and Whitaker's is Elizabeth Hawkenson, who during a September interview with New Times said Gonzalez was the reason she ended up on Whitaker's couch.
She said she agreed to do some modeling so she could pay for school at Arizona State University, and the two hounded her about how much more money she could make if she made a "reality" porn film with Whitaker.
After constant harassment, Hawkenson made an idiotic decision: she agreed -- on the condition that the video would only appear on the part of the website people had to pay to see, with the assumption that not too many people would ever see it.
Whitaker, however, submitted the video of him having sex with Hawkenson to free, highly trafficked porn sites, and that's how the 18-year-old girl became a "star."
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A highly publicized rumor was started (likely by Whitaker to drive traffic to his site) that the video caused Hawkenson to lose her scholarship to ASU, which, we discovered, was false.
The humiliation, she says, was so embarrassing that she dropped out of school after only a few weeks and left Arizona for good. Her video, however, lives on at the Backroom Casting Couch website.
Gonzalez has been charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of furnishing obscene materials to a minor, two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of sexual abuse. Gonzalez's arrest report indicates that additional charges are pending.
"Gonzo's" currently in a Maricopa County Jail. Whitaker remains a free man -- for now.