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Mom Guilty of MySpace CyberBullying

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Lori Drew was convicted Wednesday on several misdemeanor federal charges.


The jury did not convict Drew on federal felony charges, but found her guilty of three counts of lesser offenses, including accessing a computer without authorization. The jurors could not agree on a verdict on a conspiracy charge. Each count comes with up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

In 2006 Drew created a fake profile of a teenage boy and sent a variety of messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier, including one that said the world would be better off without her. The young girl, who had been treated for depression, hanged herself after receiving that message.

Federal prosecutors claimed Drew violated MySpace's terms of service by creating the profile with the intention of harassing Megan.

Should she have been charged with more serious crimes? Comment in the momlogic community.

next: Casey Anthony Googled "Neck Breaking"
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
WJ November 26, 2008, 4:12 PM

It’s now precedent. Laws created to target computer hacking have now been successfully applied to prosecute and convict someone merely for violating provisions of a Web site’s “Terms of Service.”

To sign up for a username on this site (ABC News), you have to check a box next to the following statement: “I certify that I have read all 17 sections of the Terms of Use contained in the box above and I agree with all of their terms.” Two rhetorical questions: 1) Did you? 2) In the unlikely event you did, are you certain you followed every stipulation and always will?

Amazingly, most people still think this *case* was about Megan Meier’s tragic suicide, rather than Ms. Drew’s violation of a Web site’s extensive “usage rules.” I have never made a prediction with more confidence: many of those pleased by the defendant’s deserved comeuppance will someday regret the further damage this case has done to civil liberties.

That’s what happens to freedom when people don’t pay close enough attention — it gradually disappears.

yeahthatsme November 27, 2008, 12:09 AM

To WJ, laws are not supposed to be arbitrary. Everyone is held to the same standards, so to the question this website poses “Should she have been charged with more serious crimes?”… that’s up to the DA. That’s what the DA is there for. We pay him/her to do a job, and hope they do it. You can whine about her being convicted, but she was found guilty by our judicial process.

Personally, I’d like to see HER hanged, but that’s not how it works. I don’t get my druthers.

Another fact of life in America is this: That crap they fed you in first grade about America being free? It’s just that: crap. America is the least free country in the world. It has the most laws on the books restricting behavior. It has the highest percentage of its population in prison. I’ll say it again: America is the least free country in the world. Anything and everything can be argued that it is illegal. That is why they can get someone for something like this. If they want you in jail, you will be in jail. Period. That’s why they always have something to hold people on until they can come up with charges against them. Ever noticed that? We have no civil liberties. We are all owned by the government.

Our freedoms were eroded LONG ago. Long, long ago. I am pleased that she was convicted, but am also already saddended that our freedoms are gone.

jc November 27, 2008, 1:11 AM

I’m not saying what she did was right or correct or even acceptable.

But, I find it odd that Lori Drew knew what was going on in her daughter’s life and was very involved in it.(Albeit, she made a bad decision).

However, Megan’s mother, who knew she had issues, knew she was at risk of this, did not know what was going on in her daughters life.

Which one was really the bad mother? The one who ignored everything, or the one who knew what was going on and made a bad choice. I guess that’s the real question here.

PS: America’s the least free country in the world? Let me know when you’re wearing a dress past your ankles and a burka. Then you’re not free.

Kara November 27, 2008, 10:26 PM

jc, I think you are wrong about who was the better parent. I think that the level of immaturity shown by Lori Drew indicates that, perhaps, she was involved in her daughter’s life more because she was trying to act like a teenager rather than monitor her daughter. These were not the actions of a mature adult but a spoiled teenager and she was no teenager! And yes, I think she should have been charged with more serious crimes. No one seems to take responsibility for their actions anymore. I was recently behind a woman at the grocery store that was rude - beyond rude - to the checker. Do you think she even noticed the tears the checker tried hard to hold back when she left? No. All she was thinking about was herself. Maybe she was having a rotten day, maybe someone else had been really rude to her. Even so there she was passing on her bad day to someone else. Who knows when something is the last straw for someone else???
Honestly, we just don’t have the right to treat each other this badly.

TaylorJ November 27, 2008, 11:35 PM

WJ —> i agree in almost every respect that you are talking about, and see the only solution to something like this is that Terms of Service’s or EULA’s should be regulated in that they are actually a viably readable document to the general public.

yeahthatsme —> i live in canada, but read predominately American articles often regarding civil liberties, and from my point of view, i completely agree with you. America seems like the least free country out there.
Sure, JC, in Afghanistan certain peoples are treated lesser and are forced to have what seems are less rights, but its less likely that they are thrown in prison for “no reason”, and held there after the “law” has come up with an infraction. In Afghanistan their infractions are just so abnormally stupid that we DEEM them uncivil, and less free. (Ex. spitting on the road you get imprisoned for, or women in public alone are basically beaten and/or murdered)

Kara. I like how you have equated this to real life, but, in terms of your example, this mom that has been charged shouldn’t be charged at all. Technically, it is not her fault that the girl killed herself. Its just as much her fault as if it were a little boy that lives on her street, and says the same thing before the girl goes home and hangs herself.

There is no real reason that this women should be charged with murder or even anything CLOSE to murder, only laws that pertain to the knowing breakage of Terms of Service, and possibly impersonating another person.

Finally, for my opinion, this mother should be let go. Taught how to be a real parent and to butt out of her daughter’s life, but released nonetheless. The mother of the daughter that killed herself, she should at least be counselled, not only for losing a daughter, but to see if she is a risk to any other children she could have.
Pay attention to your kid, they wont kill themselves.

usd6 November 28, 2008, 3:51 AM

When Cyber-Bullying Turns Deadly!!jisus

r.Thompson December 3, 2008, 4:35 PM

She shouldn’t have been charged with any crime at all, as she didn’t commit one. What she did was immature, cruel, stupid, ill-conceived, and thoughtless. It ended in a tragedy. But let’s review the facts.
The girl killed herself somewhere around 30 days after the account was opened. She killed herself over a boy she’d never met, a month after becoming aware of his existence. This was not a person on her way to adulthood, this was the inevitable ending for someone that emotionally unstable.
The fact that a cute 13 year old with braces died made this the perfect case to jam a dangerous precedent into the federal judicial bloodstream.
Lori Drew was convicted of a) using a false name to register and b) harassing someone with their account. Those are, in order, the first and second most common ToS violations on MySpace, probably on the entire Internet. Basically, this decision just criminalized about 2 billion people worldwide.
Again bad judgment, terrible actions, stupid decisions, tragic consequences, crime: check, check, check, check, and nope.

Lori July 10, 2009, 2:58 PM

She should be in trouble for engaging in an online relationship with a child. She’s clearly a pediphile. I don’t beleive she pretended to be a young boy to find out what this girl was saying about her own daughter- that’s ridiculous.

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