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A woman who harassed a teenager via MySpace wants probation and fine

A Missouri woman who was convicted of three misdemeanors related to the MySpace harassment of a teenager who committed suicide will likely face probation and a $5,000 fine, according to a report.

The attorney for Lori Drew filed a pre-sentence report urging the court to go with probation and a fine.  Furthermore, her lawyer, H. Dean Steward, also wants the convictions to be dismissed.  Steward said MySpace wasn't to blame, and the girl's alleged history of mental illness and bouts of depression were more to blame than anything else.

Drew reportedly created a fake MySpace account posing as a teenage boy and sent flirtatious messages to Megan Meier, one of her neighbors.  Shortly after, the fictitious teenage boy dumped Megan while also saying the world wouldn't miss her.  The girl hanged herself after reading the messages sent through MySpace.

After originally being convicted last November, Drew faces three years in jail and a fine up to $300,000 related to the three misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization.  She originally was charged with four felony counts, though she was cleared of three of them and the jury was deadlocked on the final felony count.

"This is about justice," Megan's mother said after the verdict.  "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."

Drew reportedly can't pay the $5,000 fine since she lost her job when she stopped working in November 2007.  In addition, several neighbors have harassed and threatened her, leading up to a brick being thrown through one of her windows.  The family eventually had to move out of the neighborhood.

She is expected to be sentenced on May 18, and Steward has asked that Megan's friends and family not speak at the sentencing, as it's "still a computer fraud case."



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RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 5:04:50 PM , Rating: 5
Not buying it you guys. She wasn't pulling a prank, and she wasn't just being a jerk. She went way out of her way to create an elaborate ruse with the sole purpose being to emotionally crush a teenage girl.

There's no way you can compare this to, say, a bad joke or even a mean-spirited jab. This took a lot of effort on her part, and she invested a lot of time, in building up a fake relationship with this girl with the full intention of then turning on her and destroying her ego.

Evil. Pure and simple.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By WW102 on 5/5/2009 5:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
I know not everyone is equal when we are talking about mental stability, but we can't start punishing other people everytime a CRAZY person does something CRAZY.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By mindless1 on 5/6/2009 4:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, we certainly can when what caused the "crazy" thing was another person acting unlawfully, maliciously.

It's very simple, cause and effect. There is a reason children aren't normally held accountable for their actions until at or at least near 18, because they are still learning about everything in life including coping skills.

We cannot tolerate adults preying on children. Where would it end? Knowing the difference between right and wrong is not as hard as some here seem to think it is, nor is knowing that beyond a certain point, wrong cannot go unpunished because law is meant, among other things, to preserve stability in our society as well as punishment.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By WW102 on 5/7/2009 10:14:59 AM , Rating: 2
It wasnt and cant be just one person. I was a whole bundle of things. Drew just happened to be the final straw. All in all it sucks someone died but obviously this is natural selection. It just wasnt ment to be.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By DASQ on 5/5/2009 5:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
You can make it sound as elaborate and conniving as possible, but at the end of the day A) She stole no money B) She extorted no goods or services C) She did not cause direct physical harm, or conspire to do so. The teen chose to hang herself. Drews did not even go so far as to say "Hey, go kill yourself". She said no one would miss her.

It is no different than me telling you, right now, to go run your head through a meat grinder. I am not liable for what you choose to do.

Until there is a law forbidding 'suggestive reasoning', this is not a real crime.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By BigPeen on 5/5/2009 5:46:10 PM , Rating: 3
You forgot to summarize with the whole, oh she didn't break any laws. Which, I hear, is kind of a requirement for jail time.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 6:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
Causing harm is illegal. Whether emotional, physical, financial, or otherwise.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By DASQ on 5/5/2009 6:46:59 PM , Rating: 2
What country do you live in?

I am no lawyer, but I've never heard of any law in the world that mentions 'Thou shalt not call your neighbor a hussy'.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 7:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
You're seriously going to compare what this woman did to a single instance of derogatory name calling?

Oh, and I live the USA. Where lawsuits are filed and won on a regular basis solely for emotional distress. See post below. Google is your friend.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By rs1 on 5/5/2009 7:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, the law only recognizes "harm" when it is tangible and quantifiable. If someone breaks your leg, you can hold them accountable because you have tangible proof that harm was caused (your leg is now in more pieces than it previously was), and the extent of the damage is easily quantifiable (you just add up your doctor bills, medication costs, lost wages from being unable to work, etc.).

If someone makes you cry, however, there is no tangible evidence of harm, you just "feel" bad (and things would be a mess if people could sue each other every time someone made them feel unhappy). And the damage isn't quantifiable either, because what's the value of a tear? Or of a happy day? Or a broken heart? You could ask 10 people, and you'd get 10 completely different answers. That's why you can't sue someone for slander just because they said something mean about you and it made you feel bad. To be successful at suing someone for slander, you have to prove that the mean thing that they said caused you actual, measurable damages (such as loss of revenue from a business).

Thankfully, the law is smart enough to make a distinction between intangible forms of harm (such as emotional damages) versus tangible forms of harm (physical damages, financial damages), and causing intangible harm is not at all illegal. If there is no tangible evidence that harm was caused, then as far as the law cares, no harm was caused.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 7:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
...you don't seriously need me to go and find you court decisions finding against the defendant for having caused emotional distress, do you?

Get a grip. We even tax people on awards they are granted by courts solely for emotional distress.

Example: http://www.tax-news.com/archive/story/US_Appeals_C...

...which is not a special anything to me, simply the first thing that popped into Google.

Lawsuits are filed, and won, on a regular basis on nothing but emotional distress.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By rs1 on 5/5/2009 7:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
The emotional distress you reference there is a civil matter/tort, not an illegal act which carries criminal repercussions. It's still not illegal to cause emotional distress, but in civil (*not* criminal) court, an individual can be held liable for any damages proven to be a direct result of emotional distress that they caused. Even in this case, however, the damages still have to be tangible and quantifiable. The general standard is:

quote:
The emotional distress suffered by the plaintiffs must be "severe." This standard is quantified by the intensity, duration, and any physical manifestations of the distress. A lack of productivity or depression documented by professional psychiatrists is typically required here, although acquaintances' testimony about a change in behavior could be persuasive.


So despite your protests, it is still not illegal, in the criminal sense, to cause even severe emotional distress.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By callmeroy on 5/6/2009 12:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
You are arguing for the sake of nothing more than the "I'm right , you are wrong factor" which is always pathetic to me when people do that.

Moto and I have disagreed strongly on issues before, but I side with his argument on this one.

Further you are mincing words - again just for the popular "one up" factor people play so frequently these days.

Harrassment, slander, liable --- all forms of emotional distress .....all *drum roll*....ILLEGAL to do.

The issue of whether its illegal in civil or criminal court is one of the most ridiculous arguments on legal issues I've ever read or heard. Illegal is illegal, the type of suit you bring -- Civil or Criminal doesn't adjust what is legal or not. It merely is a specific set of procedures established for the nature of the cases to properly be handled by the judicial system, since criminal and civil causes have their own set of requirements and definitions for limits / thresholds , etc.

This all said --- the woman definitely should be punished more severely than a fine and simple probation -- but at the same time she shouldn't get a huge sentence either.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By callmeroy on 5/6/2009 12:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot to add where on earth did you people EVER get the notion that you have to do PHYSICAL harm for it to be illegal? That's a joke -- almost spit out my water on that one the first time I read whoever posted it....


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 6:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
C) She did not cause direct physical harm, or conspire to do so.


Newsflash - physical harm is not the only harm that can be caused. She took elaborate, obsessive actions to cause intense emotional harm.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By DASQ on 5/5/2009 6:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
Newsflash - It's not illegal. You can sue for it, sure, but again, no law against being a jerk.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 7:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
Laws against being a jerk? No. Laws against deliberately causing severe emotional distress? Yes.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By feraltoad on 5/5/2009 9:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
Should I use the hamburger or sausage attachment? BTW you'll be hearing from my family's lawyer.


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