Sunday, February 18, 2007

MySpace Off The Hook In Child Sex Case

A US judge has ruled that is not liable in a case in which a 13-year-old girl was molested by a man she met on the social networking site, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The girl's parents had filed the 30 million dollars lawsuit against MySPace and its owner News Corp., claiming that the networking site failed to protect the girl and other users from predators.

Several other similar cases are pending in US courts and the ruling appeared to set a precedent in which social networking sites are not held liable for the actions of their users, according to legal experts quoted by the newspaper.

According to court documents, the 13-year-old girl known as Julie Doe listed her age as 18 when she joined MySpace. In April last year, when she was 14, the girl was contacted through the site by college student Pete Solis who later took her out on a date and sexually assaulted her in a parking lot.

"If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace," Judge Sam Sparks wrote in a ruling dismissing the case.

The ruling came as MySpace and its competitors are putting in place voluntary safety measures to verify users' age, identify possible molesters and allow greater parental control of what their children do on the sites.

Lawyer Adam J. Loewy, who represented the girl, said he was disappointed in the ruling and planned an appeal.

"We were prepared for a very long battle in this," Loewy said.

© 2007 DPA


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