Friday, February 16, 2007

Myspace Not Guilty In Sex Assault

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The Washington Post reports that Myspace has been found to NOT be liable in a case where a teenage girl was assaulted. Finally ... we have a judge who can make a coherent decision in frivolous lawsuit cases.

Yesterday, a Texas judge tossed out a lawsuit against MySpace, the world's biggest social-networking site brought by the family of a 13-year-old girl assaulted by a man who found her through her MySpace page.

The man, 19-year-old Pete Solis of Texas, lied about himself on his MySpace page to gain the trust of the girl, who is identified as Julie Doe in the suit. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child last year.

Doe's family sued MySpace for $30 million and their case was joined by other families who had experienced similar assaults. MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp, and is fighting legislative efforts to restrict access to the site at school and library computers.

In dismissing the suit, the judge wrote: "To impose a duty under these circumstances for MySpace to confirm or determine the age of each applicant, with liability resulting from negligence in performing or not performing duty, would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks and close this avenue of communication..."

In the end, according to the judge, "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."

I can't believe a judge actually held parents responsible for protecting their children in this day and age. Any assault by a sexual predator is horrendous, and I wish they would execute this guy. However, to blame a website for your child's indiscretions is ludicrous.

There have been several parents who seem unable to find the time, or admit their children are whoring around with strangers, who have been suing Myspace because the site hasn't been doing a proper job of supervising the parent's kids. All of these lawsuits are frivolous, and should be dismissed with little effort.

I have often asked people what their reaction would be if an adult man were to sue Myspace because he was assaulted by a teenage girl. The reaction is always one of confusion that such a case would ever exists. Yet ... that is exactly what happened in Jacksonville.

A Jacksonville man says he was duped and robbed by two girls after attempting to meet with a woman he met on the internet.

The victim says he chatted online with a woman, known on her MySpace.com profile as “Natalia”, for two weeks before deciding to meet with her. He says her profile showed sexy photos, and a blurb which said “just lookin’ for something fun”.

They decided to meet at what she called her home at the Bentley Green Apartments.

“I went to [the apartment] and knocked on the door, and there was no answer. So I called her and said, ‘I'm here’ and there was no answer."

That is when two girls who were 14 and 15-years-old, approached him saying they knew Natalia, the girl he thought he'd be meeting. They also said they knew where he worked at what car he drove.

"This was not the girl that the picture was of on MySpace," the victim said.

Now sensing something was wrong, he was ready to take off, but was stopped by a shocking discovery.

"[One of the girls] took [a] gun out and put it to my head and told me to empty my pockets."

Police did a search of the area and found the two teens with another male suspect. They searched a purse and found two loaded handguns.

Myspace.com may have been developed for friends and music, but this victim had to find out the hard way that not everyone is logging on for the right reasons.

The so-called Natalia did tell the victim that she was 18, so he was shocked to learn he was actually talking to a 14-year-old.

Those teenagers are now charged with armed robbery and carrying a concealed firearm.

This story broke just a day or two after the Texas story. Guess which one got the media attention? In fact ... several other stories about young girls too stupid to not meet up with strangers from Myspace broke in the next few weeks. There were also several lawsuits filed against Myspace for not preventing these young girls from being assaulted, but no mention of this poor GUY who was robbed at gunpoint by a couple of teenage girls.

Why is it that the little media coverage available on this guy says that "this victim had to find out the hard way?" Why didn't the girls who were assaulted have to find out the hard way? What makes it so ok for them to sue Myspace for their own lack of judgement, but it's taboo to suggest that this guy should sue Myspace as well for not protecting him? Oh yeah ... parents exploiting their kids for money ... I forgot.

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