Teen sexually assaulted by man she met on MySpace Kills herself, family sues

While the Internet has a wealth of good things going for it, there are some bad points as well. Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook illustrate these points well.

Most users of MySpace and Facebook use the sites as they were intended -- a place to meet friends and find like-minded people to chat with and make new friends. However, both Facebook and MySpace have had problems with sexual predators preying on unsuspecting children using the sites.

DailyTech reported earlier this month that Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl, had committed suicide after a cyber-bully tormented her on her MySpace page. In the case of Meier, the local district attorney said charges were unlikely to be filed.

The Dallas Morning News reports that another young girl, a 14-year-old identified only as Julie Doe from California killed herself in July of 2006 after being sexually assaulted by a 30-year-old man that she had met on MySpace named Kiley Ryan Bowers.

The family of the 14-year-old girl has filed suit against MySpace alleging that it knew about prior sexual assaults by predators using the site and failed to implement security measures to prevent assaults from happening again.

According to documents from the case, the girl’s suicide note said that the failed relationship with Bowers was part of her reasoning for killing herself. Jason Itkin, the attorney for the family of the girl says, “The main goal of these lawsuits is to get MySpace to stand up and put in meaningful protections that will make it more difficult to search out and find young girls.” Itkin and his firm are also representing six other families who have sued MySpace over similar allegations.

DailyTech has previously reported on subpoenas that were issued against MySpace rival Facebook over allegations of soliciting of minors using Facebook’s website. A Wired Magazine editor found 497 convicted sexual predators on MySpace in October of 2006.

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