CT Family Suing Snapchat and Instagram After 15-Year-Old Was Raped and Assaulted By Two Sex Offenders Who Contacted Her on Apps | The Gateway Pundit | by Cassandra MacDonald

A Connecticut family is suing Snapchat and Instagram after their 15-year-old daughter was raped and sexually assaulted by two registered sex offenders that found her on the apps.

Social media apps have been subject to lawsuits nationwide over minors committing suicide, self-harming, obtaining drugs, and developing eating disorders after being shown dangerous content or being contacted by predators.

According to the lawsuit, the unnamed minor was only 10 years old when she was contacted by a first predator on Instagram and coerced into sending explicit photos of herself. He kept demanding more, leading to the child attempting suicide “in the hopes of finding some escape,” according to the lawsuit.

When the family found out what was going on they reported “the exploitation to police, who informed them that Meta’s Instagram product was designed in such a way that they could not identify who was behind the Instagram account that was used to abuse her, and a case was never opened,” the 95-page lawsuit states, according to a report from the CT Post.

In 2019, when she was 13, the child was contacted on Snapchat by a second convicted sex offender — Reginald Sharp — who knew her real age. He convinced her to send nude photos and blackmailed her, saying that he would post them online unless she met him in person.

The girl snuck out and met him and was repeatedly raped.

She picked Sharp out of a lineup, and he pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, enticing a minor, and violation of parole.

“It was a parent’s worst nightmare; a repeat sex offender raped my baby girl. It killed my soul that I couldn’t protect her from this monster. For some time, she wouldn’t dress as a girl because she was worried someone would attack her because she looked pretty,” the girl’s mother told the sentencing judge, according to the report.

Sharp was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 20 years of special parole.

In October 2021, the girl was still allowed on social media apps, and the situation repeated itself with another registered sex offender, Edward “Eddie” Rodriguez, a former New Haven police officer. He was on probation for assaulting another teenage girl.

The girl met with Rodriguez and he sexually assaulted her in his car before driving her to school.

Rodriguez has pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault, illegal sexual contact and violating his prior probation. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

“(The victim) has been hospitalized and in counseling because of the harms Meta and Snap caused her,” the lawsuit states. “She has isolated herself socially; she has suffered from anxiety and depression, thoughts of self harm and suicide; and tremendous pain and guilt for what her dependency on their products and her inability to just stop using them has caused her family.”

“This lawsuit seeks to hold the social media defendants’ products responsible for causing and contributing to the burgeoning mental health crisis perpetuated upon children and teenagers of the United States,” the lawsuit says.

The family is being represented by the Social Media Victims Law Center, which “works to hold social media companies legally accountable for the harm they inflict on vulnerable users by applying principles of product liability.”

“We feel this is a very significant case given everything that our client has gone through,” attorney Michael Kennedy of New Haven, who is representing the family along with the SMVLC, told the paper.

The CT Post reports, “The suit seeks unspecified damages from Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and Snap Inc., parent company of Snapchat, as well as the two convicted rapists, one a former New Haven police officer.”

Meta declined to comment when contacted by the paper.

A spokesperson for Snap claimed that the platform makes it “very difficult” for strangers to find and communicate with minors.

“While we can’t comment on active litigation, the privacy and safety of our Snapchat community is of paramount importance,” said Snap spokesman Pete Boogaard. “Exploitation of any kind is unacceptable on our platform — and we routinely work with safety experts and law enforcement to help combat it. Snapchat is a visual messaging app designed for communication between real friends, and we intentionally make it very difficult for strangers to find and communicate with minors.”