A 14-year-old Travis County girl who said she was sexually assaulted by a Buda man she met on MySpace.com sued the popular Internet social networking site Monday for $30 million, claiming it fails to protect minors from adult sexual predators.
The lawsuit claims the Web site does not require users to verify their age and calls the security measures aimed at preventing strangers from contacting users younger than 16 “utterly ineffective.”
“MySpace is more concerned about making money than protecting children online,” said Adam Loewy, who is representing the girl and her mother in the lawsuit against MySpace, its parent company News Corp. and Pete Solis, the 19-year-old accused by police of sexually assaulting the girl.
Solis contacted the girl through her MySpace Web site in April, telling her that he was a high school senior who played on the football team, according to the lawsuit. She told him she was a freshman in high school and gave him her cell phone number, the lawsuit said.
In May, he picked her up at school, took her out to eat and to a movie and then drove her to an apartment complex parking lot in South Austin where he sexually assaulted her, police have said. He was arrested May 19.
A month before Solis initially contacted the girl on MySpace.com, representatives of the Internet site told CBS News that they protected users younger than 16 from being contacted by people who didn’t know them, according to the lawsuit.
“That is obviously false,” Loewy said. “There are ways to contact them.”
The lawsuit includes news reports of other sexual assaults in which victims were contacted through MySpace. They include a 22-year-old Wisconsin man charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and a 27-year-old Connecticut man accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
Why do I get the feeling that this attorney is going to be the Jack Thompson of MySpace?