Cyber-bullying is a growing phenomenon among teens, but a Grand Jury has indicted Lori Drew, 49, in a strange and tragic instance of it. It’s alleged that she posed as a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans on MySpace, then befriended Megan Meier, 13. When the relationship ended it’s claimed that “Josh Evans” sent a message to Meier saying the world would be better off without her, one of several bullying messages she received. Meir, who, like Drew, lived in St. Louis, killed herself in October 2006.
Drew now faces one charge of conspiracy and three of accessing protected computers without authorisation to inflict emotional distress. Each charge carries a possible five-year term. Drew denies creating the fake profile on MySpace or messaging Meier.
The case was brought to the Grand Jury by Los Angeles federal prosecutor Thomas O’Brien, who told AP:
"Any adult who uses the internet or a social gathering website to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realise that their actions can have serious consequences."
However, Drew’s attorney, Dan Steward, said his client planned to give a legal challenge for the charges.
"We thought when prosecutors in St Louis looked at the case and all the facts, it was clear no criminal acts occurred," he said. Drew will be arraigned in St. Louis before being moved to Los Angeles for trial.
MySpace co-operated with investigating US attorney, and re-iterated that it “does not tolerate cyber-bullying.”
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