"NEW YORK - Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said Thursday.
The law firms, Barry & Loewy LLP of Austin, Texas, and Arnold & Itkin LLP of Houston, said families from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina filed separate suits Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging negligence, recklessness, fraud and negligent misrepresentation by the companies.
"In our view, MySpace waited entirely too long to attempt to institute meaningful security measures that effectively increase the safety of their underage users," said Jason A. Itkin, an Arnold & Itkin lawyer.
The families are seeking monetary damages "in the millions of dollars," Itkin said.
"Hopefully these lawsuits can spur MySpace into action and prevent this from happening to another child somewhere," he said.
MySpace, based in Los Angeles, did not immediately return calls for comment.
Critics including parents, school officials and police have been increasingly warning of online predators at sites like MySpace, where youth-oriented visitors are encouraged to expand their circles of friends using free messaging tools and personal profile pages.
MySpace has responded with added educational efforts and partnerships with law enforcement. The company has also placed restrictions on how adults may contact younger users on MySpace, while developing technologies such as one announced Wednesday to let parents see some aspects of their child's online profile, including the stated age. That tool is expected this summer.
The lawyers who filed the latest lawsuits said the plaintiffs include a 15-year-old girl from Texas who was lured to a meeting, drugged and assaulted in 2006 by an adult MySpace user, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Texas after pleading guilty to sexual assault.
The others are a 15-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old from upstate New York and two South Carolina sisters, ages 14 and 15.
Last June, the mother of a 14-year-old who says she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old user sued MySpace and News Corp., seeking $30 million in damages. That lawsuit, pending in a Texas state court, claims the 19-year-old lied about being a senior in high school to gain her trust and phone number."
This is just totally stupid. Everyone of us on here knows how the young girls can be- and if you ask me you can't blame a guy for trying. (not that I in any way condone their activities -. freaking pervs)
Education and respect for themselves starts in the home- not letting your young daughters be online for hours on end unsupervised. Even I have warned several younger girls of how many freaks there are and I believe I have helped. Giving out your picture and personal info is just not responsible in any way , shape, or form. Giving out your address, a very pretty picture and personal info such as phone numbers is like waving a sign - "here I am , come get me ". I am one of the oldest I know on the net (25) and I have been bothered by pervs , so you young girls just be careful please.
I am not ranting just concerned.