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Megan Meier

Lori Drew with daughter Sarah
Judge's decision to avoid setting precedent may result in justice being averted

A Missouri woman who was convicted of three misdemeanors for her role in an online harassment of a teenager who committed suicide has been provisionally acquitted.

Lori Drew conspired with her daughter Sarah Drew and Ashley Grills to gather information about thirteen year old Megan Meier and humiliate her. This was done in retribution for Meier allegedly spreading gossip and rumors about Drew's daughter.

The three created the fictional MySpace persona of "Josh Evans" and befriended Meier. Eventually the Evans persona turned hostile, with the final message sent to Meier reading: "Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you."

Meier responded with a message reading “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over.”  She was found hanging by her neck twenty minutes after her last message was sent.

Federal District Judge George Wu provisionally threw out the convictions because Drew's conviction on illegal access hinged on the fact that she violated MySpace's Terms of Service by creating a false account. Creating a false account is not a criminal offence, and Judge Wu did not want to create a precedent that could be used to convict millions of other Internet users.

"This is conduct done every day by millions and millions of people," Judge Wu rationalized.

Lori Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan's death, but was instead indicted under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The case has been a rallying cry for anti-online harassment legislation. Assemblyman Ted Lieu introduced Assembly Bill 86 in the California legislature in August 2008, and Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez introduced H.R. 6123 as the "Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act" to amend Title 18 of the United States Code on May 22 2008.

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RE: Why is this Tech news ?
By Boze on 7/3/2009 4:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
This is news because it could possibly have resulted in a very serious piece of legislation being crafted one day; one that might not be realistically enforceable, but would be chilling nonetheless.

As far as the child is concerned, I feel nothing but sympathy for her parents, and I deeply regret she felt it necessary to kill herself, however we need to place the blame for this not on Lori Drew or her hambeast daughter, but directly on Megan Meier's parents. Every day, people are starving to death, being killed in genocidal conflicts, natural disasters, accidents, and just about any other horrific way you can imagine. To me it begs the question: where were her parents during all this? Too busy whining and bitching at each other over their marriage to pay attention to the daughter, it would seem. Too busy not explaining to her that, no matter how bad you might think you have it... you don't. You live in the world's most advanced nation, a society that compared to the rest of the world is a paragon of freedom. If you live in the United States, you really have no excuse to ever consider suicide. Nothing is so bad that you need to kill yourself over it.

Unfortunately, the poor girl was only thirteen. She didn't have a family to teach her this, to explain these things, to comfort and explain to her about what was happening to her over the computer. Her parents failed her miserably by not paying enough attention to her and her emotional and mental state.

Would mainstream press ever write anything like what I've just said? No. Do they need to? Every single time something like this happens. The majority of society's woes can be directly laid at the feet of the parents. And the parents don't like hearing that.

RE: Why is this Tech news ?
By Boze on 7/3/2009 4:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa whoa, how does this get rated down to a 0 the second after I post it? No one's reading that fast. You DailyTech admins might wanna take a look over your software and figure out what's up.

RE: Why is this Tech news ?
By SavagePotato on 7/4/2009 3:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Reply to a -1 post removes one point, using any profanity -1 point.

I see at least one profane word in there that would do that.

That's why.

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