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Megan Meier's neighbor Ms. Drew was found guilty of misdemeanor charges surrounding her allegedly spurring Meier to kill herself, but found not guilty of three more serious felony charges.  (Source: Myspace)
Family and friends search for closure in final verdict

The case of Lori Drew and her role in the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier was a controversial one.  Meier was a teenager who suffered from bouts of depression, but was generally characterized and good-natured and outgoing.  When she committed suicide after an argument with her mother, it seemed like nothing more than a tragic case of teenage mental illness gone awry. 

However, then it came out that the argument with her mother was over cruel comments from a boy online who allegedly initially romanced her on MySpace and then turned hostile, eventually dropping a hint that the world might be a better place if she left it.  The only thing out of the ordinary -- the teenage boy, wasn't really a teenage boy; it was neighbor Lori Drew who wanted to allegedly "get Meier back" for supposed mean behavior towards her daughter.

When this came to light, federal authorities sidestepped local authorities, which would likely have delivered no charges.  They charged Ms. Drew with a variety of misdemeanors as well as four felony counts.

The trial was long and heated, with Ms. Drew's attorney arguing that Meier's suicide was less the result of MySpace, and more the result of a history of mental illness and that Ms. Drew could not be held responsible for not reading MySpace’s EULA, because "no one" does.  Meanwhile, prosecutors painted Ms. Drew as a mean-spirited woman who tormented young Meier and drove her to her unfortunate end.

In the end the jury found Ms. Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges, while clearing her of three of the felony charges and reaching a deadlock in a fourth felony charge.  The result is that Ms. Drew will be sentenced to anything from probation to three years behind bars, avoiding felony sentencing which could have put her in prison for 20 years.

The reason the jury found her not guilty on the felony counts was due to lack of proof that Ms. Drew had typed the MySpace messages that drove Meier apparently to suicide.  The messages may also have been typed by Ms. Drew's employee or daughter, both of which were privy to Ms. Drew's scheme.

Tina Meier, Megan's mother says that despite the mixed nature of the verdict, that it's a victory.  She states, "This is about justice.  It's justice not only for Megan but it's justice for everybody who has had to go through this with the computer and being harassed."

MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam also praised the decision, stating, "MySpace respects the jury's decision and will continue to work with industry experts to raise awareness of cyber-bullying and the harm it can potentially cause."

The greatest impact of the case may be to spur government officials to enact new cyberbullying laws, which could allow criminal charges for those who goad youth into suicide.  Meier's case is not alone in this respect -- recently a teenager was encouraged by hundreds of onlookers in a video chat room to take pills and kill himself, which he did, dying hours later as the cameras rolled.

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RE: ridiculous
By Tuor on 12/1/2008 1:35:31 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that Megan Meier's mother broke MySpace's TOS by creating an account for her daughter. The TOS says that someone must be at least 14 years old to have a MySpace account; Megan was only 13 at the time.

A closer reading of the case makes it pretty clear that Drew was only tangently involved in most of what was going on. Her biggest mistake was agreeing with the idea to create the account and not thinking clearly about the possible outcomes.

Megan Meier was just a mental collapse waiting to happen.

RE: ridiculous
By MatthiasF on 12/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: ridiculous
By MikeO on 12/1/08, Rating: 0
RE: ridiculous
By spread on 12/1/2008 7:13:07 AM , Rating: 1
While I do agree the woman involved is sick and needs some help, the girl killed herself because someone on the internet hurt her feelings and told her to.

Someone on the internet told her to go kill herself and she did it.

RE: ridiculous
By Master Kenobi on 12/1/2008 7:55:45 AM , Rating: 3
Someone on the internet told her to go kill herself and she did it.

Ah, but not quite! The exact quote was "this place would be better if you left".

How you want to interpret this quote is up to you, but there was no death threat here.

RE: ridiculous
By spread on 12/1/2008 9:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
Now that you mention it...

It could mean alot of things. Move from the neighborhood, city, country.

Looks like suicide was on her mind to begin with. Maybe that's why she was hopped up on antidepressants.

RE: ridiculous
By Master Kenobi on 12/1/2008 10:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The result was not predicted, it was the option created by the mind of this 13 year old and it was acted on by the mind of this 13 year old.

This would be telling someone to get out of my life and them slashing their wrists. Are you going to hold me accountable for telling that person to get out of my life? They did what I asked/told them to do, however they provided both the method and execution on their own with no help from me.

RE: ridiculous
By MatthiasF on 12/1/2008 2:51:19 PM , Rating: 1
She was a 13 year old girl who just had the young (fake) man who she fell in love with suddenly teller he she was a horrible person, forwarded every intimate message she sent to "him" to all her schoolmates and told her she deserved to die. This was all in the course of a few hours.

That kind of sudden stress would destroy a normal child and obliterated this troubled girl.

Instead of anyone showing sympathy for the situation, they argue about how the parents were bad, or the drugs killed her.

No, she could have lived to be an adult, got herself off the meds and led a healthy life. There was a lot still possible for her, but was all cut short.

Instead of recognizing the vile act and commiserating, you're all debating minor little aspects of what happened as if they're the cause.

The cause was the harassment. End of story.

RE: ridiculous
By werepossum on 12/1/2008 5:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
While I do agree the woman involved is sick and needs some help , the girl killed herself because someone on the internet hurt her feelings and told her to.

This is what is wrong with American society in a nutshell. This grown woman made and executed a plan to deceive, devastate, and suggest suicide to ("the world" is not "the neighborhood"; there is no leaving it short of death) a young girl whom she already knew to be suicidal, and you see her as a victim. She is not a victim; she knowingly tried to drive a young girl to her death, either as the main instigator or as a willing conspirator. After the girl's death, she told investigators she felt no guilt for what she has done. This woman is evil, and should be in prison for a long, long time, preferably being harassed herself. A normal person would be horrified at even speaking sharply to a child who then committed suicide; this woman - this creature - obtained satisfaction from it.

I agree about the drugs, but doctors prescribing drugs are presumably attempting to help. This woman's only intent was to inflict pain and suffering, and when her actions helped result in the girl's death, she was not horrified, but satisfied.

RE: ridiculous
By spread on 12/1/2008 8:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
I never said the woman was a victim, I simply said she is sick.

There is something fundamentally wrong with her. Who takes this much time to plan such an elaborate persona to hurt some teenage girl her daughter doesn't like anymore.

Megan was the victim, and an easy target, for an online predator in her 40s.

RE: ridiculous
By Master Kenobi on 12/1/2008 7:13:39 AM , Rating: 2
You, and everyone else above, who are excusing two adults of preying on a young girl are sick and demented.

Because in the USA, we have this thing called Laws. Laws are broken, and a crime is committed. In this case, no laws were broken. You, and many others need to learn that Morals, and Ethics do NOT necessarily equal a Law.

The fact that they nailed her for an EULA/TOS violation merely adds weight to how far the prosecution had to stretch the case. On an appeal I expect further charges to be overturned.

RE: ridiculous
By MatthiasF on 12/1/2008 2:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
Numerous laws were broken but because of the method of the attack (over the internet) and the circumstances of the harassment, the assailant could not be discovered without a reasonable doubt.

The woman getting off on the local and federal charges had nothing to do with her not breaking any laws, it was about not having enough evidence to convict.

Because she had an employee setup the Myspace account, passed out the login information for the account she used to harass the girl allowing several people to use it, the defense argued it wasn't her who did the harassment and even had an employee take the blame for saying the line that sent the girl over the edge.

It's the equivalent of a mafia boss getting off because he had his subordinates do all the work, even though he thought up the idea and was involved in every decision. Finding the evidence of the boss being involved boils down to testimonies and no hard evidence.

Good job on the high horse attitude, by the way. You made yourself out to be a bigger troglodyte than the rest by trying to make the defeat of justice legitimate with your completely inappropriate and misinformed notions of the case at hand.

RE: ridiculous
By Tuor on 12/2/2008 12:54:23 AM , Rating: 1
Two adults? IIRC, Grills, the employee (or whatever it was) of Drew, was 18 at the time of Meier's suicide. I guess qualifies as an adult, barely.

And who is excusing Drew? Do I think Drew is to blame for Meier's suicide? No. Do I think Drew did something reprehensible? Yes. And yes, I think Drew showed very bad judgement.

And yes, I blame the Meier for killing herself. I don't have sympathy for suicides. It's not that I'm excusing others so much as holding people accountable for what they actually did rather than trying to blame someone else. Meier killed herself. Drew acted stupidly and despicably.

Meier's mother was wrong to create a MySpace account for her unstable daughter, and she, IMO, should've been more supportive of her daughter in the face of what was being said about her and how badly she was reacting to it. I bet she regrets that now, but also think that at least some of her actions are based on an attempt to deflect guilt for her own callousness when her daughter needed her.

And yes, I do think Meier was a just a meltdown ready to happen.

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