updated 2/3/2006 11:55:12 AM ET 2006-02-03T16:55:12

Police are investigating whether as many as seven teenage girls have been sexually assaulted by men they met through the popular Web site MySpace.com.

The girls, ages 12 to 16, are from Middletown and say they were fondled or had consensual sex with men who turned out to be older than they claimed. None of the incidents appeared to be violent, said Middletown Police Sgt. Bill McKenna.

He said it was difficult to determine the exact number of victims because some girls have been reluctant to disclose that they met their assailants online.

The social networking Web site allows users to create profiles that can include photos, personal information and even cell phone numbers.

In a statement Thursday, MySpace.com said it was committed to providing a safe environment for its users. The site, which includes safety tips, also prohibits use by anyone younger than 14, though a disclaimer says the people who run the site can't always tell if users are lying about their ages.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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