Technology and Business Law Blog

Internet Sites and Statutory Rape

In Doe v SexSearch.com an Ohio case, the plaintiff a male was charged with felony statutory rape. The facts are that a minor posing to be a 18 year old in her profile on SexSearch.com’s website met the plaintiff online and later both met in person and had consensual sex. The plaintiff was then charged with statutory rape, for having sex with a 14 year old. Plaintiff sued SexSearch.com alleging that (1) Defendants failed to discuss that the minor (Jane Roe) lied about her age to join the website and (2) the terms of the contract to join the website were unconscionable.

The Judge held against the plaintiff on both the claims stating that the “plaintiff was not an unsuspecting customer and “he was aware the SexSearch.com membership registration process did not include an age verification procedure. Plaintiff specifically agreed to the Terms and Conditions which stated that SexSearch does not guarantee or verify any information provided by the user of the website and nothing outside of the Terms and Conditions creates warranties.”

The Judge held that section 230 of the Communication Decency Act “Interactive Computer Services” cannot be held responsible for publishing information provided to them by a member.

When the plaintiff met the minor in person he probably should have taken steps to verify her age, even if she appeared to be 18 years old, but when desire takes over good sense there is no holding back. Now the sad part is that even though the sex was consensual the adult is being held responsible and the minor goes scot free, which is totally unfair but who said that law is fair…

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August 30, 2007 - Posted by | Communication Decency Act, Contract, Statutory Rape

1 Comment »

  1. That’s why it should be mandatory not only to provide a birthday on internet sites but also a credit card or social security to provide prove that a person is actually 18 and older. Parents should make an effort to watch their children as they search the internet up until they are 18. On the flip side men and women need to check ID’s to verify they are meeting the right person to prevent events like this one from happening. I feel there should be consequences for both the minor and plaintiff. That’s why the legal age to consent sex should be 18, that person is grown and can be held accountable for their actions. All states should make that a law. Some states have 16 which is too young; that child is not even done with high school yet. I feel statutory rape and other crimes can be prevented if parents take better action and enforcing the rules in their homes as well as the government enforcing and improving their laws.

    Comment by Babiey | July 16, 2012 | Reply


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