“Shocked. We’re just shocked.”

            It took eight graduate students, two months and a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to figure this one out: Craigslist promotes sex.

            I sure wish research was that obvious and easy when I was in college.

            M. Alexis Kennedy, an award-winning professor at UNLV with both a law degree and a Ph.D. in forensic psychology, led the research — which was conducted more than two years ago, in 2007! (That’s long before the “erotic services” section of Craigslist, which was free, was replaced with “adult services” ads costing $10 for an initial posting and $5 for renewals. Not that that has changed anything in the “Craigslist promotes sex” department.)

            “[Craigslist is] this whole world of online brothels, but nobody is monitoring it any more,” Kennedy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

            The study hasn’t been published yet, so we’re basing our coverage on the R-J’s. But if the study is as breathless and naïve as the R-J story, well, we’re almost embarrassed by it.

            Eight graduate students reviewed more than 12,000 ads in the Las Vegas “erotic services” section of Craigslist, out of about 100,000 posted during the two-month period. “Nearly all of the ads included photos of what appeared to be escorts or escort agencies; more than 80 percent of the ads included phone numbers, most with a 702 area code [which is local in Las Vegas], (and) more than a third of the ads specified prices for services,” the study found. Imagine!

            We don’t do this kind of research much any more, because frankly, so what? Craigslist and Backpage.com have become havens for hookers — along with hundreds of other sites. “Policing those venues has become very difficult,” Lt. Karen Hughes of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department vice section, told the newspaper.

            “It’s scary because we think of Craigslist as being so innocuous, but it’s really the tip of the iceberg,” Kennedy said.

            Yeh, well, Craigslist being innocuous is like a downtown Las Vegas wedding chapel being the height of class.