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November 30, 2006 - Boston Herald Newspaper


Portsmouth, N.H. - A Rhode Island man was charged yesterday with raping a woman in Portsmouth he met through an online dating system. Prosecutor Susan Boone said authorities believe Joseph Silva, 31, of East Providence slipped a date-rape drug in the woman's drink. Silva's bail was set at $25,000. Police say there may be more charges. "There were repeated assaults on that evening, and he even continued to try to contact her after that night." Boone said.


Ex-Weekly Reader editor sentenced in sex case

BOSTON - Noel Neff, 47, of Norwalk, Conn., a former editor for the company that publishes the venerable Weekly Reader, a newspaper for elementary school children, was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for soliciting sex from a minor


N.H. man held in MySpace sex assault

MANCHESTER, N.H. - A Manchester man is charged with sexually assaulting a 12 year old girl he met on Police said Matthew Bergeron, 19, drove to Nashua to meet the girl early Saturday morning after meeting her on the social networking Web site. He was arrested later that night and charged with three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, five counts of felonious sexual assault, indecent exposure and illegal use of a computer.


Man pleads guilty in MySpace molest case

BRIDGEPORT, CONN. A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty yesterday to traveling across state lines to have sex with a 14 year old Connecticut girl he met through the social networking site Stephen M. Letavec, 40, of Elrama, Pa., was charged last year in one of the first federal sex cases involving the popular site. Letavec, a volunteer firefighter, was accused of molesting an Oxford girl in his car. The girl signed onto MySpace as an 18 year old, but told Letavec she was 14 before he visited, the FBI said.


NEW YORK - Four families have sued News Corp, and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughers were sexually abused by adults they met on on the site, lawyers for the families said yesterday.

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.

"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 lawyer Jason A. Itkin, adding the families are seeking damages "in the millions of dollars."

Critics have been increasingly warning of online predators at sites such as MySpace, where youth-oriented visitors are encouraged to expand their circles of friends using free messaging tools and personal profile pages.

...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 last year by an adult MySpace user, who is now serving a 10 year sentence in Texas for sexual assault. The others are a 15 year old girl from Pennsylvania, a 14 year old from New York and two South Carolina sisters, ages 14 and 15. --Associated Press

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