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Man charged with soliciting minor online

MySpace under scrutiny again

A 26-year-old man from Connecticut faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl he met through MySpace, the US DoJ (Department of Justice) said late on Tuesday.

Jason Palmeira was arrested on Tuesday and faces charges related to using the internet to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity and travelling in interstate commerce for the purpose of having illicit sexual conduct with a minor, the DoJ said.

The 15-year-old girl, from Connecticut, posted a message on MySpace on 19 June, according to the DoJ. She identified herself as a 15-year-old and said she was interested in meeting boys under the age of 18.

On 21 June, Palmeira allegedly sent an email to the girl in response to her message, saying he was 26 years old. Palmeira and the girl began communicating often, using both the internet and telephone, and their discussions turned sexual in nature and involved arranging a meeting, the DoJ said.

On 13 July, Palmeira allegedly met the girl, then drove her to a house in Massachusetts. There the two allegedly engaged in sexual activity. Palmeira drove the girl back to Connecticut the following morning. The girl's mother then contacted the police.

Palmeira was released on Tuesday after posting a $100,000 (about £54,000) bond. Magistrate Judge Thomas P Smith of the US District Court of Connecticut ordered Palmeira to reside with his parents at their home in Springfield, Massachusetts, and restricted his access to the internet.

If convicted, Palmeira faces a minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 30 years in prison, a period of supervised release for as long as life and a fine of up to $250,000 (£135,000).

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