Doe v. MySpace lawsuit dismissal affirmed

by Ted Frank on May 19, 2008

In May 2006, 14-year-old Texas girl “Julie Doe” listed herself as 18 on her MySpace profile (so she could circumvent the site’s child safety features) and snuck out of her house to surreptitiously meet with a boy she met on MySpace the previous month. Unfortunately for her, the boy was also lying; Pete Solis was not a high-school athlete, but a 19-year-old that (allegedly) raped her. (Solis claims the sex was consensual and that he didn’t know about the illegal age difference, though knowledge ususally isn’t a defense in statutory rape cases.)

The family blamed MySpace and sued in multiple jurisdictions, omitting Solis from the most recent iteration of the suit. The suit was dismissed under the website hosting immunity protections of the Communications Decency Act; and Friday, the dismissal was affirmed by a unanimous panel of the Fifth Circuit (via Childs). We covered the suit in detail in 2006; for that, and other MySpace litigation, see our MySpace tag.

In April, Solis pleaded guilty to reduced charges of felony injury to a child, and will serve 90 days over the course of five years, and will register as a sex offender. (Jen Biundo, “Buda teen gets 90 days in jail, seven years on sex offender list”, The Free Press (Buda), April 23). His attorney? Adam Reposa, known for other reasons. One presume’s Solis’s even more ludicrous lawsuit against MySpace has met a similar fate.

{ 3 comments }

1 Deoxy 05.20.08 at 11:30 am

though knowledge ususally isn’t a defense in statutory rape cases

As best I can tell, NOTHING is a defense against statutory rape, even a fake ID that has fooled the bouncers and bartenders at a bar (stating her to be 21 and old enough to drink!). One of the many reasons statutory rape laws need to some serious revision.

2 ParatrooperJJ 05.21.08 at 12:07 pm

In Ohio knowledge of age must be proven for a conviction.

3 Robert 02.10.09 at 9:34 pm

At the very least, it should be a crime for a child to lie about his or her age for the purpose of setting up a face-to-face meeting. This way the parents of this little sl*t would have a choice: deal with the matter privately (say, by sending the child to a therapist), or bringing the matter to law enoforcement have have their daughter serve time in juvenile detention.

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