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Judge Dismisses Teenage Prostitute’s Suit

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 18 (UPI) — An online advertising company cannot be held responsible for its use by a pimp offering a 14-year-old girl for sex, a federal judge in St. Louis says.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Mummert ruled Monday that Backpage.com and Village Voice Media Holdings are protected by the Communications Decency Act from being held liable for ads posted on the site, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The teenage runaway filed the lawsuit in September. The suit charges Backpage knowingly ran ads promoting child prostitution.

Latasha Jewell McFarland, 27, who pleaded guilty to prostituting the girl, was sentenced in December to five years in federal prison.

Robert Pedroli, the teen’s lawyer, said he plans to appeal the ruling. In a statement Wednesday, he said the Communications Decency Act, designed to help children, has changed and “now protects businesses that knowingly profit from criminal postings including profits for advertisements for sex with trafficked children.”

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