I saw this first on The Huffington Post and followed it through to a couple of UK papers. The original (as far as I can determine) is from the Belfast Telegraph. Read it here. Essentially, and not for the first time, a teenage girl tried to sell her virginity to the highest bidder on an action site. Apparently, a reporter for the Telegraph noticed the posting, contacted the girl to see if it was legit and then posed as a wealthy businessman to bid for the young lady's virtue.

It was not enough to verify with by speaking with her, of course. The "reporter" then had to continue the ruse until he was the highest, and winning, bidder. Why, you ask? Well, those lay people not familiar with journalist ethics might be curious, but the reason is obvious! To stop some sleazebag from winning, of course! Then the girl would be humiliated. It's not like the reporter and his editors could have just called her parents, or contacted the (most likely) unknowing auction service, or the proper authorities to report child - the girl is 16 - prostitution, or simply publish the story right away to ensure the girl's retraction. The ONLY viable option here was to continue with the charade.

Here are some great excerpts:

"Sunday Life [a section of The Telegraph] spent two weeks checking how genuine the teen’s offer was. During that time, she calmly bombarded our reporter with dozens of texts, many of a sexual nature."

"The girl — who we’re not identifying for ethical reasons — met our reporter just two days after he agreed to the £6,000 price-tag."

"The fresh faced teen turned up alone to meet our man in the centre of Newry last week. This was a huge risk as the man she was meeting could have been a dangerous serial sex offender or worse."

"The student walked home alone observed by a Sunday Life photographer, potentially exposing her address to a pervert."

Well as long as it was all in the name of journalism. I'm sure it was hard for this grown man to endure the sexually explicit text messages, the photos and the titillating conversation during which he asked her all about her virginity and plans to lose it, but hey, somebody's got to do it. If not him, it could have been some pervert.

It's also a nice touch to include the phrase "for ethical reasons" in an article like this. Stay classy, Belfast Telegraph.