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Old 11-29-2007, 09:54 AM   #1
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Parents Want Jail Time For MySpace Hoax

I have read about this case for a couple of weeks now, I just cannot wrap my head around a 48 year old doing such a thing to a 13 year old. Adults bullying other adults via the internet is bad enough. Shouldn't there be some sort of legal consequences for this?

abcnews.com

Parents Want Jail Time for MySpace Hoax Mom
Neighbor Recounts Conversation With Lori Drew About Her Fake Online Identity

Nov. 29, 2007 —

The family of Megan Meier, the 13-year-old girl who took her own life after being bullied on MySpace, is demanding justice and jail time for the adult involved in the bullying.

Lori Drew, the Meiers' 48-year-old neighbor in suburban St. Louis, admitted in a police report that she created a fictitious MySpace account and pretended to be a boy with a romantic interest in Megan. According to the police report, Drew created the profile to find out what Megan was saying online about her teenage daughter.

Megan hanged herself in her closet in October 2006. When police eventually decided that Drew had committed no crime, Megan's parents, who had remained silent about the case until that point, spoke out.

"You cannot as an adult sit there and do that and hide behind a computer. It is a criminal act. We want to see her go to jail," said Tina Meier, Megan's mother.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," the neighbor who first tipped off police about Drew's involvement says that Drew confessed to her that she had played a hoax on Megan.

"She did sit here in my living room and confess everything to me. She told me that they had pulled an image of a boy off the Internet and that they had created an account using the name of Josh Evans, and she said she knew the last message that left her house that Monday when Megan attempted her life was that, 'The world would be a better place without you,'" said the neighbor, who asked that her identity not be revealed.

Now others are calling for justice in the case. Prosecutors say they are reviewing the case to determine whether anyone will be charged with a crime.

Last week the board of aldermen in the Meiers' hometown, Dardenne Prairie, Mo., passed a law making Internet bullying a misdemeanor in the town.

"It's time that we do something against this. On all levels, the state and federal level," Dardenne Prairie Mayor Pam Fogarty said.

The Back Story

Megan sometimes suffered from low self-esteem and was on medication at the time of her death.

"That is what makes it even more disgusting, that she knew the circumstances around our daughter and still played on it," said Megan's father, Ron Meier.

But Megan's family said she looked forward to her 14th birthday and having her braces removed.

When a cute boy befriended Megan on the social networking site MySpace, the two formed a quick connection during their more-than-monthlong relationship.

"She got this e-mail from this boy named 'Josh Evans,'" Tina Meier said.

Josh claimed to be a 16-year-old boy who lived nearby and was home-schooled. But what began as a promising online friendship soon turned sour, as compliments turned to insults.

Josh said he didn't have a phone and so Megan couldn't talk to him. But the two continued their communication online, despite some red flags Tina Meier said she saw.

"It was just that nervous mom," she said. She called police to find out whether they could determine whether a MySpace account was real. They couldn't.

Still, all seemed to go well between Megan and Josh until an unsettling message started a tragic chain of events.

"Megan gets an e-mail, or a message from Josh on her MySpace on Oct. 15, 2006, saying, 'I don't know if I want to be friends with you any longer because I hear you're not nice to your friends,'" Tina Meier said.

The person using Josh's account was sending cruel messages and Megan called her mother, saying electronic bulletins were being posted about her, saying things like, "Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat," according to The Associated Press.

The cyberexchange devastated Megan, who was unable to understand how and why her friendship had unraveled. The stress and frustration was too much for Megan, who had a history of depression.

Tina Meier discovered her daughter's body in a bedroom closet Oct. 16, 2006. Megan had hanged herself and she died a day later.

But six weeks after Megan's death, the Meiers learned that Josh never existed. A mother, who had learned of the page from her own daughter, told the Meiers that Drew had created and monitored Josh's profile and page.

There was a connection between the Meiers and Drew's family. In fact, Drew had asked the Meiers whether her family could store their foosball table.

Once they learned Drew's involvement, the Meiers destroyed the table, placed it in Drew's yard and encouraged the family to move, according to the AP.

"That's the biggest tragedy of this whole thing: An adult did it," Ron Meier said.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:10 AM   #2
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What a discusting woman.

I really don't think there's anyway to bring charges though...
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:15 AM   #3
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The fact that an adult did this to a child is disgusting. How sick does one have to be to do something like that?

I'm glad the parents are fighting to get justice for their daughter. As with the online predators and such, precedents need to start being set for these types of cases because sadly, they're becoming all too common these days. Just because there's never been such a case before doesn't mean that you can't find a way to prosecute. It's happened time and time again, and I hope it happens here.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:27 AM   #4
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Paraphrasing something Dennis Miller said many years ago

'If you ever find yourself in a position where you want to harm or do harm to a child sexually or psychologically, then (long pause) you need to kill yourself right now and help us thin out this herd of collective nutcases."

How pathetic is one's life when they have to hide behind acmoputer and torment a 13 year old?
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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She's an asshole. It's not a crime. If it was half the world would be in jail.

Not saying it wasn't vile, what she did. It is. But she didn't actually do anything.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
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I wonder if there are grounds for a civil suit then. Might be the way to pursue it.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by LarryMullen's_POPAngel

I'm glad the parents are fighting to get justice for their daughter. As with the online predators and such, precedents need to start being set for these types of cases because sadly, they're becoming all too common these days. Just because there's never been such a case before doesn't mean that you can't find a way to prosecute. It's happened time and time again, and I hope it happens here.
But how could you ever define this as a crime? You can't say 'because the bullying led to a suicide' it can now be tried as a crime, because hundreds of experts would say there are many other factors with teen suicide. And how would you define bullying? Half of interference may be under investigation using some people's definition of bullying.

It's a slippery slope. And this case will definately tug on people's heartstrings, it does mine, but I just can't see how it will ever be possible to convict crimes like these.

People can claim stolen passwords, it was an obvious joke, multiple computer personalities, etc...
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


But how could you ever define this as a crime? You can't say 'because the bullying led to a suicide' it can now be tried as a crime, because hundreds of experts would say there are many other factors with teen suicide. And how would you define bullying? Half of interference may be under investigation using some people's definition of bullying.

It's a slippery slope. And this case will definately tug on people's heartstrings, it does mine, but I just can't see how it will ever be possible to convict crimes like these.

People can claim stolen passwords, it was an obvious joke, multiple computer personalities, etc...
It is indeed a slippery slope, which is why it's even harder to imagine that this will go unpunished. What's to stop this person from doing this to another child? I'm not saying that child would go and kill themselves, but then does it become easier to go after them for being a repeat offender?

I don't know. Who's to say that this child would have killed herself anyway, given her history and such. There are so many angles to this story. You make several good points, but in the end a child was driven to suicide and I hope that somehow this woman has to pay. Like Bono's Saint said, perhaps this will come in the form of a civil suit.
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:43 AM   #9
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God, if I was an adult and did that to a child, I'd charge myself!
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:56 AM   #10
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Different things impact people in different ways. I've read tons of tagic stories, and, I'm often surprised at how.....accustomed....I've become to such things....but, I read that article twice, and welled up after the 2nd reading. It's just so very beyond my ability to comprehend, and it's insanely frustrating. Poor fucking kid. She did nothing to anyone, she was just trying to wade through the morass that is adolesence, in the best way she knew how. She wasn't terrorizing someone parent's child, she was not some juvenile delinquent, she was not a bad seed, she was just an awkward girl with a problem she never asked for. I cannot convey just how much this bothers me, nor how much venom I have towards this insane excuse for a human being, this Lori Drew. There will be no legal consequences, I'm sure, but I hope she suffers mental torment for the rest of her fucking life.

G-d I hate this story.
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:30 PM   #11
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I'm not for certain if there are absolutely no legal consequences. This is taken from the Myspace Terms and Conditions:

Quote:
The following is a partial list of the kind of activity that is illegal or prohibited on the MySpace Website and through your use of the MySpace Services. MySpace.com reserves the right to investigate and take appropriate legal action against anyone who, in MySpace.com's sole discretion, violates this provision, including without limitation, reporting you to law enforcement authorities. Prohibited activity includes, but is not limited to:

1. criminal or tortious activity, including child pornography, fraud, trafficking in obscene material, drug dealing, gambling, harassment, stalking, spamming, spimming, sending of viruses or other harmful files, copyright infringement, patent infringement, or theft of trade secrets;

2. advertising to, or solicitation of, any Member to buy or sell any products or services through the MySpace Services. You may not transmit any chain letters or junk email to other Members. It is also a violation of these rules to use any information obtained from the MySpace Services in order to contact, advertise to, solicit, or sell to any Member without their prior explicit consent. In order to protect our Members from such advertising or solicitation, MySpace.com reserves the right to restrict the number of emails which a Member may send to other Members in any 24-hour period to a number which MySpace.com deems appropriate in its sole discretion. If you breach this Agreement and send unsolicited bulk email, instant messages or other unsolicited communications of any kind through the MySpace Services, you acknowledge that you will have caused substantial harm to MySpace.com, but that the amount of such harm would be extremely difficult to ascertain. As a reasonable estimation of such harm, you agree to pay MySpace.com $50 for each such unsolicited email or other unsolicited communication you send through the MySpace Services;
3. covering or obscuring the banner advertisements on your personal profile page, or any MySpace.com page via HTML/CSS or any other means;
4. any automated use of the system, such as using scripts to add friends or send comments or messages;
5. interfering with, disrupting, or creating an undue burden on the MySpace Services or the networks or services connected to the MySpace Services;
6. attempting to impersonate another Member or person;

7. for band profiles, copying the code for your MySpace Player and embedding it into other profiles or asking other Members to embed it into their profiles;
8. using the account, username, or password of another Member at any time or disclosing your password to any third party or permitting any third party to access your account;
9. selling or otherwise transferring your profile;
10. using any information obtained from the MySpace Services in order to harass, abuse, or harm another person;
11. displaying an advertisement on your profile, or accepting payment or anything of value from a third person in exchange for your performing any commercial activity on or through the MySpace Services on behalf of that person, such as placing commercial content on your profile, posting blogs or bulletins with a commercial purpose, selecting a profile with a commercial purpose as one of your "Top 8" friends, or sending private messages with a commercial purpose; or
12. using the MySpace Services in a manner inconsistent with any and all applicable laws and regulations.

i mean, it doesn't say what the legal consequences are, just that one can get reported to the authorities. but hey a breach of contract is a breach of contract.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:01 PM   #12
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And I believe Bush signed a federal law about online harassment. The town where it happened did this as a result. Unless the girl attempted suicide before that, well her depression would not automatically result in that. I think it's pretty clear given the description of the timing of events, if accurate, that that is what prompted the suicide. Just think back to how something like that affected all of us when we were that age.

abcnews.com

Town Rules Internet Harrassment a Crime
Girl's Suicide Prompts Vote, Online Badgering Ruled Illegal
By SCOTT MICHELS

Nov. 22, 2007 —

The town where an Internet hoax apparently led to a teenage girl's suicide unanimously voted to make online harassment a crime today, according to The Associated Press.

The vote makes Internet harassment a misdemeanor and punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail, according to the report.

The ruling is a result of an incident that occured last year, where 13-year-old Megan Meier hanged herself inside her parents' home in Dardenne Prairie, Ill. The apparent cause of her suicide, her parents have said, was the sudden decline of her online relationship with a 16-year-old boy they thought was named Josh Evans.

But, soon after their daughter's death, Tina and Ron Meier discovered that there was no Josh Evans. They say the boy who pretended to be Megan's friend and then sent her nasty messages was the creation of an adult neighbor who still lives down the street from Ron Meier.

Though police and prosecutors have investigated, a year later, no criminal charges have been filed against the woman who allegedly created the online profile, and it's unclear whether any will be brought.

Tonight, the town's board of Aldermen will vote on a proposal to make online harassment a misdemeanor, said Mayor Pam Fogarty.

"It's not much, but at least it's something," Fogarty said of the proposed ordinance. "I think it's absolutely horrible that an adult can do this to a child, much less the mother of a friend and there is nothing to charge her with."
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by LarryMullen's_POPAngel


but in the end a child was driven to suicide and I hope that somehow this woman has to pay.
I think there are certain crimes in society that are unpunishable by law, but will be punishable in other ways, be it mental anguish or an afterlife, etc...

Bigotry, racism, sexism, etc all acceptable by law, but hopefully someday those will somehow understand and pay for what they've done.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:20 PM   #14
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Since that woman was even capable of doing something so heinous, I have my doubts as to how guilty she feels about it, how much anguish she feels. She knew about the girl's fragile state and depression too, that makes it even worse. And knows about any 13 year old girl's potential fragile state, I assume. Most human beings would feel incredibly guilty or wouldn't ever do it in the first place, I hope. She didn't do anything? She emotionally manipulated and harassed and used abusive words to and about a child online, and through a false identity. I sincerely hope half the world wouldn't be guilty of something like that.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:24 PM   #15
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She didn't do anything? She emotionally manipulated and harassed and used abusive words to and about a child online, and through a false identity. I sincerely hope half the world wouldn't be guilty of something like that.
She didn't do anything in the eyes of the law.

Just think about it from a purely legal view. How impossible would it be to prove anything?
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