TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AOL Monitor Accused of Luring 15-Year-Old

AOL Monitor Accused of Luring 15-Year-Old

Lisa Minter (
16 Apr 2005 14:51:37 -0700

An Internet chat room monitor hired to keep children safe from sexual
predators seduced a California girl online and was about to meet her
for sex when he was found out by a co-worker, a lawsuit charges.

According to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the
online relationship began when the girl was 15. She met the AOL
employee in a children's chat room and confided in him.

Their conversations online and by phone became increasingly explicit,
the lawsuit says. They were preparing to meet on the girl's 17th
birthday when one of the monitor's co-workers became suspicious and
prevented the encounter.

The lawsuit charges AOL and its parent company, Time Warner Inc., with
failing to supervise the employee and of falsely advertising that its
online service was safe for children. It also charges the monitor with
inflicting emotional distress.

America Online spokesman Nicholas Graham said the company fired the
monitor and contacted authorities after learning of the situation in
April 2003. The man, who was 23 when he met the girl online, has not
been charged with a crime.

Graham said AOL puts its chat room monitors through "rigorous
screening and training procedures," including a criminal background

The teenager, who is now 19 and living in Los Angeles, waited two
years to bring legal action because it was "a very confusing and
painful time for her," said her lawyer, Olivier Taillieu.

There was no immediate indication what the lawsuit seeks; Taillieu did
not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Saturday.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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