Valley Teens MySpace Use Led to Sexual Assault

May 27, 2009 12:37:35 AM PDT
A man is in jail after deputies say he picked up a thirteen year old girl before having sexual contact with her.Luis Barnabe was taken into custody at his Fresno County home Monday night.

The Sheriff says it seems to be a trend lately, crime that begins innocently on social networking websites and then escalates. Unfortunately it can have dangerous consequences.

Sheriff's say a 13 year old sitting in front of a computer screen was not safe after she began a relationship with a man that started on MySpace and ended in this Fresno County neighborhood Monday night.

Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims said, "He actually picked her up ends up at his home in Fresno. There was a sexual assault. He was arrested. He's 20 years old."

Investigators say the girls mother found the suspects name and address on a paper in her daughter's room. He drove her all the way from Kettleman City to Fresno.

A day earlier sheriff's say the MySpace invitations to this barnyard bash welcomed trouble, even before 20 year old Marcos Hernandez was shot and killed.

The mass invites sent on MySpace requested a certain attire for females in exchange for free entry.

"The girls got in free if they were wearing lingerie and short skirts. So it's starts off as a party that's going to victimize young girls. And the young boys because you never know who is going to show up," said Sheriff Mims.

Doctor Tamyra Pierce has researched MySpace for several years. She says technology is making it even harder for parents to monitor internet activity.

Fresno State Professor Dr. Tamyra Pierce said, "Many of the cell phones have applications that you can go to the MySpace instantly on your cell phone."

Pierce says the recent crime should prompt parents to remind their children of the old fashioned rules that still apply online.

"We teach our children, we have forever- to not talk to strangers, don't open the door to strangers, this is no different," said Dr. Tamyra Pierce.

The sheriff says even though one detective is dedicated to internet crime, it's not enough. Even homicide detectives are having to learn more about these networking websites to work some cases ... As for the murder outside the barn, no arrests have been made.

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