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Schools warn Web site poses a risk

Hillsborough school officials scrambled Wednesday to alert principals and parents about a Web site they say could put their children into "compromising situations."

The site, www.facethejury.com, drew attention earlier this year after a 20-year-old Bradenton man met a 12-year-old girl online and later molested her, according to police.

After learning of the site Wednesday, school officials scoured it and found at least three dozen profiles they think were posted by students in 16 Hillsborough schools.

They summoned principals and guidance counselors to school headquarters and gave them copies of the postings, telling them to try to get with the students and their parents.

"We wanted to raise awareness among students and parents that this is inherently risky," said school district spokesman Mark Hart. "The site is supposed to be used only by individuals who are 18 and older. But it was apparent . . . that some of these students may, in fact, be minors."

People post their pictures and profiles on the Web site so others can rate their looks and contact them. The site's slogan reads: "FaceTheJury.com, Where Everyone Scores!"

While most of the student profiles he saw seemed innocent, Hart said officials were concerned that students might not realize the potential for trouble.

"When we looked at some of the postings, it was clear some of these students weren't soliciting or seeking sexual advances," he said. "(But) I just don't think some students realize that while it may have been fun to engage in, it could be used for luring (them) into compromising situations."

Hart said school officials plan to alert every high school and middle school in the county about the site, and will research similar Web sites where students might have posted personal information.

"My understanding is that this is the new trend in Internet usage," he said.

Manatee County authorities said FaceTheJury.com is where 20-year-old Randall Mazenberger found a 12-year-old girl earlier this year.

Investigators said the pair met several times. Mazenberger was arrested in June and faces charges of lascivious molestation and lewd and lascivious battery.

Hart said he is confident Hillsborough students were not accessing the site from school property because school officials who tried to access it found that it had been blocked by school Internet servers.

He urged parents to remain vigilant at home about their children's Internet usage.

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