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Archive for Saturday, May 17, 2008

Internet warning

A Missouri “cyber bullying” case now is receiving national attention.

May 17, 2008

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An incident in which Missouri authorities decided not to file charges now has become a federal case - and a case that should get the attention of Internet users across the nation.

Lori Drew, a resident of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., a St. Louis suburb, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles for her role in an online deception that has been cited as a factor in the suicide of a 13-year-old Missouri girl.

The indictment occurred in Los Angeles, because that is the home of Beverly Hills-based MySpace. Drew is accused of fraudulently creating a bogus MySpace account in the name of an imaginary boy named Josh Evans. It is alleged that Drew used the Josh account to obtain information about 13-year-old Megan Meier in violation of MySpace rules and "to inflict emotional distress" on Megan who hanged herself in her bedroom two years ago.

The MySpace site presented Josh as a 16-year-old boy who was interested in Megan. After several weeks of communications, "Josh" sent Megan a cruel message in an apparent effort to break off their online relationship. Among the statements, reportedly was one telling Megan that the world would be a better place without her. Within an hour of the message being received, Megan's mother found her daughter who had hanged herself in her closet. The girl died the next day.

It's hard to imagine why anyone, especially a supposedly responsible adult, would perpetrate such a hoax. Drew was a neighbor of the Meier family and her daughter reportedly was a former friend of Megan. One motivation suggested by an employee of Drew's who helped create the false profile was Drew's desire to find out what Megan was saying about her daughter.

It's also hard to imagine that even as she pursued this cruel, immature online joke, that Drew had any idea it might lead to tragic consequences. In many cases, it would not have, but that doesn't erase the fact that playing with people through anonymous online communication isn't a smart, ethical, or perhaps legal, thing to do.

The U.S. attorney prosecuting this case said it was the first time a federal statute on accessing protected computers has been used in connection with a social-networking case. Unfortunately, it may not be the last.

Comments

steve_real 6 years, 8 months ago

Mental Illness Is Not A Crime.but revenge is...Words didn't kill that young woman.The Feds are living in a fantasy worldif they think words killed that girl.They must be smoking the good stuff again !Suicide is a disease fellasa mental diseaseand no personor womansaint, prophet, lawyer or doctorcould have stop that young girl from doing "it".Revenge in the legal sense is for the weak.It's for people and prosecutors like thesewho can easily be succumb by the weak unscientific mind.Law through emotional appeal is what got these heathens elected in the first place.Public law should never be used for revengeor emotional appealwhen dealing with the mentally ill.shame on you fellasshameshameshame!I've dealt with multiple suicides,and two in the last two yearsof close friends.O.K!these people are mentally ill.This is a sham legal ruling based on emotion.WE who end up with the left oversknow this intimately well.These prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves.They are avoiding the truth as fast as they can and to blame this on a stupid old woman?It is a lie!

Ian Sotomayor 6 years, 8 months ago

Seems like someone else has been smoking the good stuff. What about being held responsible? Emotionally ill or not, you think this woman had nothing to do with that poor girl's suicide? This case is being made as an example for a reason.

storm 6 years, 8 months ago

steve_real, this isn't about the suicide, it's about an adult preying upon a child...indeed the girl could have suicided later. Ms Drew lied to cause maliciious intent. Once you get past the suicide, you understand the case is very valid and not a sham. Ms Drew is in the same camp as pedophiles who do this online - misrepresentation, caging etc..

OldGaDawg 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sdinges 6 years, 8 months ago

This woman was mean and her actions were shameful, but trying to find laws that might possibly apply if stretched just because people "feel bad" is ridiculous. If Myspace wants to file a civil suit against the woman, then fine. If the girl's parents want to file a civil suit, fine. But she did not hack Myspace. Myspace is not a government institution through which she committed fraud. She was stupid and cruel and had no concept of the consequences of her lies - but that is not a federal crime. Otherwise I know a few teenaged girls we can lock up.And dare I say it, but this immature woman was not responsible for the fact that a mentally fragile young girl was allowed unsupervised access to the internet.I recall reading that the victim had been on antidepressants due to suicidal thoughts since she was EIGHT. How many eight year olds do you know who would even conceive of killing themselves? We know that antidepressants can increase these thoughts in children. And we know that the internet is full of potentially dangerous strangers and predators. Ms Drew is not the one who allowed this fragile girl onto the internet in the first place. It might feel better to place the entire responsibility for what happened on her shoulders, but several people contributed.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

"Nick, don't you have a 'forum' of your own to run?"Snap, you are creating an undue emotional distress to me. You keep referring to Marion as "Nick". I just might hang myself over your hatefulness to the users of this forum. Then YOU will be guilty of using a deceptive identity to inflict me. AND you even admit you are enjoying it!Boo hoo hoo.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

Nick, don't you have a 'forum' of your own to run? Of course, since you & enforcer & wittman seem to be the only people who post on a regular basis, I suppose it doesn't take up much of your time.Stillhavingawonderfulinternetlife.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe this is better handled in civil court. Just ask O.J. - civil court can be a bear.EIther way... this woman will suffer.

ontheotherhand 6 years, 8 months ago

sdinges, either you do not have kids or your home is like Ward and June Cleaver's. :) (I just hope that steve_real doesn't have any kids, period.) A kid in my 5th grade class committed suicide, and that was way back in the 70s. Multidisciplinary is correct; the numbers are high. This is from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:Suicides among young people continue to be a serious problem. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.

OldGaDawg 6 years, 8 months ago

Comment made by:__OldEnuf2BYurDad___"Either way: this woman will suffer."I certainly hope so. As I have stated in a previous comment that was removed without reason:I can only hope that the picture of this young girl hanging in her closet - by herself, alone - is forever etched in Mrs. Drew's mind "mental or not" - for a long time and even longed while she waits from the other side of prison bars.Old Ga. Dawg

OldGaDawg 6 years, 8 months ago

For the B.U T Hole that remove comment..I certainly hope you can rest at night.

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