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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Teen Says MySpace Posted Video of Her Rape

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A teenager sued MySpace and its former owner News Corp., saying they allowed video and photos of her rape and sexual assault to be posted on the social networking website.

The girl, who was 14 when she says she was raped, says MySpace and News Corp. "had actual knowledge that users of the MySpace website were capable of posting nude and/or pornographic images of minors without restrictions or oversight in place, and had actual knowledge of users posting such images."

She says she was raped and sexually assaulted by defendant Christopher Stewart, then 17, during a party at a San Diego apartment complex on June 10, 2007. She says Stewart "viciously, violently, and without consent, raped and sexually assaulted" her when she was unconscious after she "was unwillingly and uninvitingly given a drug placed in a drink." And she says Stewart's friend, co-defendant Christopher Dietrich, took photographs and video of the rape.

The plaintiff, R.P., says Dietrich uploaded and posted the images and video of her rape on the Internet, including on MySpace, "along with insulting, derogatory, and malicious comments calculated to cause humiliation, embarrassment, and psychological and emotional injury and harm."

R.P.'s Superior Court complaint says that Stewart and Dietrich were convicted of criminal sex crimes.

R.P. says MySpace and News Corp failed to "adequately implement procedures, technologies, oversight, regulations, or restrictions in order to protect minors from publication of photographic and videographic images of their nude bodies and genitalia and/or their participation in, whether through force or consent, illicit sexual activity."

She says the companies negligently allowed Dietrich "to use MySpace's services for the uploading, downloading, and large-scale distribution of child pornography, including nude pictures of plaintiff at or around the time she had been raped and sexually assaulted, through its servers without oversight or intervention because it was profitable to do so."

She also sued National Public Safety Security Services, which handled security at the Mariposa Apartments. She claims National "did not take an reasonable or appropriate measures to curtail the criminal and potentially dangerous activities of persons attending the party" when its security guard did not notify police of the party attended by 80 to 100 "intoxicated/and or drugged" teen-agers.

She also sued First Avenue Venture, which managed the apartments, claiming it "acted negligently by acting and/or failing to act in hiring a competent and professional security company to protect the safety and well-being of its tenants and guests from activities of persons present of the grounds of the Mariposa Apartment complex."

R.P. says she "suffered bruises and abrasions, was otherwise physically hurt and humiliated, and sustained injuries to her health, strength, self-esteem, well-being, activity, nervous system, and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause plaintiff great mental, physical, and nervous pain and suffering."

Also named as defendants are the parents of Christopher Stewart and Christopher Dietrich.

R.P. seeks punitive damages for sexual battery, emotional distress and negligence. She is represented by David Anderson and Steven Hillyard, both of San Francisco.

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