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Officers caught in Web of teen `cyberspider'

A 17-year-old girl from Illinois exchanged sexually explicit Internet messages with police officers from around the country, resulting in the suspension of several of them.

Police officers in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Virginia say the girl struck up an e-mail friendship with them in chat rooms, which quickly escalated into sexually explicit conversations and ended with the officers getting disciplined, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Saturday.In Wake County, N.C., eight deputies were disciplined last month for exchanging sexually suggestive messages with the teen-ager while they were on duty. The girl's mother said one deputy sent her daughter a photo of his genitals.

Wake County Sheriff John H. Baker Jr. demoted one deputy and suspended seven from two to four days.

The girl's mother says the policemen took advantage of her daughter's innocent adventures on the Internet. But some of the officers now say they were lured into a trap. "She's a cyberspider," one said.