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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 rs1 on 5/5/2009 6:55:52 PM , Rating: 1
No she didn't. Pushing is an act of physical violence, and the mother committed no physical trespass against the girl who killed herself. She may have done emotionally malicious and hurtful things, but at the end of the day, she played no tangible part in the girl's decision to kill herself, or in the physical act of carrying out that decision. She's not liable for the girl's death, and to assert otherwise is borderline ridiculous.

If my boss at work is a total asshole, and hurts my feelings by yelling at and berating me constantly, and I decide to kill myself over it, should my employer be held liable? Should my boss go to jail because of a decision that I made of my own free will? Should my family be able to sue my company for damages? Would companies continue to take on new hires if any new hire could kill themselves, blame the company, and then have their relatives sue for a huge payout? Ultimately, I made the decision to take my own life, and no matter what reasons I might cite, or who I might try to blame, the responsibility for that decision is my own, and no-one else's.

It's time to stop making excuses for people, and for individuals to be held accountable for their own actions. And that includes holding people who choose, of their own free will, to commit suicide responsible for their own deaths, rather than allowing them to shift the blame for their actions onto others. In the end, they made their own choice, and they carried out their own act, and they deserve to bear full responsibility for it, regardless of whether anyone else helped to "push" them towards making one decision over another.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By dgingeri on 5/5/2009 7:35:15 PM , Rating: 4
Many jurisdictions, including New York State courts, count "depraved indifference" as a cause in a murder. Using emotional motivations, like acting like a boyfriend/girlfriend, to push someone who is emotionally unstable or weak, like a teenager, until they emotionally break and commit suicide is counted under this "depraved indifference" as committing murder. they may not have planned it, but their actions, criminal in themselves, ended in a death and it is counted as an unintentional murder.

This woman intentionally inflicted extreme emotional distress on an unpopular teenage girl, one of the most emotionally weak and unstable types of people in the human race. How did she expect it to end? Suicide was a very high probability. Between teenagers, is would almost be expected, but for an adult to do it is just sick. this woman should have received at least 15 years for murder.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By clovell on 5/5/2009 7:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
If she had reached adulthood, I'll play your black and white game and hold her accountable.

The courts will judge accordingly, and when the civil suits hit, this will all come out in the wash.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By Solandri on 5/6/2009 4:03:46 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
No she didn't. Pushing is an act of physical violence, and the mother committed no physical trespass against the girl who killed herself. She may have done emotionally malicious and hurtful things, but at the end of the day, she played no tangible part in the girl's decision to kill herself, or in the physical act of carrying out that decision. She's not liable for the girl's death, and to assert otherwise is borderline ridiculous.

Wouldn't your reasoning make blackmail legal, since there is no physical violence involved, only emotional coercion - the threat of the release of embarrassing information?

quote:
Ultimately, I made the decision to take my own life, and no matter what reasons I might cite, or who I might try to blame, the responsibility for that decision is my own, and no-one else's.

I had an interesting discussion about this with some friends when we were comparing homicides with suicides. There are two ways to think of this: The individual point of view (which you advocate), and the societal point of view (which others are advocating).

From the individual point of view, each individual is responsible for his/her actions. So by this viewpoint, the girl was solely responsible for taking her own life.

From the societal point of view, certain actions can directly or indirectly have negative consequences on society. Say cutting off funding to a suicide hotline leads to an average increase in suicides by 10 a month. Of course the people who cut off funding are not directly responsible for those extra suicides. But the fact remains that that action led to the increase in suicides. So if society views suicide as a negative thing, then you want to discourage actions which result in increased suicides.

In the homicide vs. suicide case, from an individual point of view a homicide is very different from a suicide (one was voluntary, the other was not). But from a societal point of view they are the same - a life and future potential to add to and improve society was needlessly wasted.

So while what the mother did may not have been directly criminal, it most certainly is behavior we as a society want to strongly discourage.


RE: This is bull#*@$.
By mindless1 on 5/6/2009 4:16:05 PM , Rating: 3
Nonsense. Anyone can be pushed over the edge, even you. The fault lies on the one who does it.

If your boss constantly harasses you in the workplace, yes many forms of that are illegal! Your families' recourse is akin to the justice we hope to see in the Drew case, that your boss, and your employer if the conduct was known, be prosecuted for the legal violations.


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