"The panel was very receptive to our arguments regarding the lack of any guarantee that all persons on the site are over the age of 18," Gary Kaufman, lead counsel for SexSearch.com, told XBIZ.
"Only one person in the world had the responsibility to verify that girl's age and it was John Doe. I expect the panel to agree."
The case, filed in Toledo, Ohio, centered around an adult male who said he was tricked into believing that a minor he met on SexSearch was in fact over the age of 18 because she posted information that stated such and that the online company represented to him that it verifies the age of all members who use their site.
More than a month after having consensual intercourse with the minor at her home, Doe was arrested and charged with a variety of charges of unlawful conduct with a minor.
The man, whose age has not been revealed, faced up to 15 years in prison, but his criminal trial was dismissed.
The 14-year-old minor, whose profile was active on SexSearch until it was removed by her parents, included her photo on the site, as well as listings that said she was looking for a “1-on-1 sexual encounter” and that her ideal match included her interest in a male “who can last for a long time.”
SexSearch claims that it is immune through the Communications Decency Act because it acts as an Internet service provider and that Doe’s state claims all failed in the lower court decision at U.S. District Court.