Couple arrested after Web posting

Girl, 12, writes on MySpace.com page of being given drugs while visiting them in Md.

January 06, 2007|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,Sun Reporter

A 12-year-old girl's account on her MySpace.com page led to her father and stepmother's arrests yesterday on child abuse charges, Maryland State Police said.

The girl, who lives in Florida, wrote on the Internet site that the couple had given her cocaine and marijuana several times while she was visiting them over the holidays at their home in Kent County, according to police.

State police Sgt. Russell Newell said that when the girl returned home, her mother grew suspicious about what had happened during the visit. She then read the MySpace account and confronted her daughter, who confirmed what she had written.

"Unfortunately, parents are sometimes unwilling to confront their children," said Newell. "Thank goodness this mother did. This is dangerous. We're talking about cocaine use by a 12-year-old."

The mother's call to state police prompted a joint investigation with the Kent County Department of Social Services and the county's narcotics task force. Early yesterday, police arrested the girl's father, 29, and her stepmother, 23, at their home in Galena.

They were charged with two counts of child abuse and one count of contributing to delinquent conditions of a minor child. He was being held yesterday on $10,000 bond and his wife on $3,000 bond.

Before the arrests, investigators had visited the girl's Web site and interviewed her about her 10-day stay in Maryland.

MySpace is a popular social networking site in which people write about their lives and often post photographs. They also meet other people who have pages. The explosion of networking sites has led to concerns - stemming from isolated incidents - that users, especially teenagers, could be exposing themselves to predators.

In this case, however, a girl's writings led to an investigation that might have saved her from further abuse, police said.

Police said the girl's mother became suspicious after someone - possibly a family friend - told her about the MySpace entry.

"After getting hold of the narrative on the forum, she discovered that yes, in fact, what she had heard was true," said Newell.

jonathan.bor@baltsun.com

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