Mother And Daughter Still Blame MySpace For Not Protecting Her From Sexual Assault

from the go-after-the-money dept

Two and a half years ago, we wrote about a teenager who sued MySpace following a sexual assault, saying that it was the site's fault that she was assaulted. This despite the fact that she had signed up for the site, lied about her age and the actual assault (obviously) happened outside of MySpace. That's not to say that a crime didn't happen, but it's quite difficult to see how it could possibly be MySpace's fault. In fact, a judge made exactly that point in dismissing the lawsuit last year, noting that MySpace was protected under section 230 safe harbors, and even if it wasn't, it would "cripple" 3rd party communication systems if you could attach liability to them for every crime committed that touched on those services. The judge also pointed out that this seemed like a clear case of a parent trying to blame a big company for her own failings: "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."

Of course, that's not good enough for the girl and her mother, who have now appealed the case, still claiming that MySpace somehow is responsible. The girl's lawyers claim that MySpace still had a responsibility to protect the girl, even though he doesn't explain how it can protect a girl who lied about her age and then went off to meet with a much older guy in real life. It's difficult to see how that can possibly be MySpace's fault -- but the rule of thumb these days is always sue the big company that has the most money. As for the older guy accused of the sexual assault, he's been indicted, but last we heard, his lawyers were also thinking about blaming MySpace. After all, if the girl is blaming MySpace, then how could it be the guy's fault?

Filed Under: blame, safe harbors, sexual assault
Companies: myspace, news corp


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 1 Apr 2008 @ 8:28am

    Re: hmm

    Actually, neither have a real case against MySpace. The site provided the platform through which they started communicating, nothing more.

    Put it this way. If they went to the same mall and had met there instead of MySpace, would the mall be held responsible for them being allowed near each other to begin with? Of course not. The MySpace thing was just an extra first step before a physical meeting.

    There's various ways of taking this case as you mentioned - from a forced rape to the guy trusting the MySpace profile rather than his own eyes - but either way it's the two parties involved (along with their parents) who have to take the blame. Whether this means the guy is 100% guilty or the girl should share blame is up to different court cases that have no relevance here.

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