Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said Thursday.


The law firms handing the suits said families from New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina all filed separate suits Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suits allege negligence, recklessness, fraud and negligent misrepresentation by the companies.


The Santa Monica-based Web site announced Wednesday that it had developed a new technology, called "Zephyr" that would allow parents to see some aspects of their child's online profile, including the stated age and location but would not allow parents to view the child's profile page or read their e-mail. That tool is expected to be in use this summer.


The plaintiffs include a 15-year-old girl from Texas who was lured to a meeting, drugged and assaulted in 2006 by an adult MySpace user, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Texas after pleading guilty to sexual assault.


The others are a 15-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old from New York and two South Carolina sisters, ages 14 and 15.


Last June, the mother of a 14-year-old who says she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old user sued MySpace and News Corp., seeking $30 million in damages. That lawsuit, filed in a Texas state court, claims the 19-year-old lied about being a senior in high school to gain her trust and phone number.

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