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Two arrested in Connecticut child sex Web probe

Written by: Staff
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BOSTON, Mar 3 (Reuters) Two men have been arrested on allegations they had illegal sexual contact with minors they met through MySpace.com, a popular virtual hangout for children and teenagers, officials in Connecticut said.

Sonny Szeto, 22, of New York, used the site to meet an 11-year-old girl, while Stephen Letavec, 39, of Pennsylvania used it to meet a 14-year-old girl, federal authorities said yesterday.

''People with nefarious intentions exploit that technology and target our children,'' Kevin O'Connor, US Attorney for Connecticut, said at a news conference in New Haven, Connecticut.

Users post photographs and personal information about themselves on the social-networking site owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

But, O'Connor added: ''This really isn't about MySpace. This really is about the predators. When it comes to blame you can only point the finger at the defendants.'' Szeto and his victim also chatted over Time Warner Inc.'s AOL Instant Messenger service, viewed Web-cam images of each other and spoke over the telephone, according to court documents.

He arranged three late-night visits to her home in Connecticut, where they had sexual contact, according to an FBI affidavit. Szeto was arrested on February 27.

Letavec is accused of using MySpace to arrange meetings with a 14-year-old girl, also in Connecticut, where they had sexual contact, according to the court documents.

Representatives for MySpace and AOL were not immediately available for comment.

Neither Szeto nor Letavec has been indicted.

Letavec faces possible charges of using the Internet to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity and with traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of attempting to have and having illicit sexual conduct with a minor. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.

Szeto faces charges of using the Internet to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity. If convicted, Szeto could face 30 years in prison.

REUTERS DH RAI0551

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