Prosecutors Go Overboard In Indicting Woman Involved In MySpace Hoax That Resulted In Suicide

from the out-for-vengeance dept

Before we get into the details, I think everyone can agree that the story of Megan Meier is quite tragic. She was the 13-year-old girl who was “friended” on MySpace by a boy with whom she became close online. After a certain amount of time, the boy turned on her, trying to end the friendship and saying that “the world would be better off without her.” After receiving this message, Megan committed suicide. Later, it was discovered that the boy in question never existed — and was part of a hoax perpetrated by some of Megan’s friends/neighbors, including the mother of one of Megan’s former friends. The story is, most definitely, sad and tragic — and it’s no surprise that there are people out for vengeance, with the main target being Lori Drew, the adult who participated in some manner in the hoax. However, as we said back when state prosecutors in Missouri couldn’t find any law to prosecute, being a total jerk online is not a crime. As stupid as the prank was, it wasn’t designed to make the girl commit suicide.

But, of course, when you have a high profile case that includes a 13-year-old girl committing suicide after being misled, people are still going to push for something to be done (or they end up doing something themselves). So with state prosecutors failing to find anything, federal prosecutors stepped in, and have now indicted Lori Drew on a number of different charges, relating to “conspiracy and fraudulently gaining access to someone else’s computer.” This seems like a serious stretch. It’s an effort to twist existing laws just to punish this particular woman because people are upset by the outcome. Legal scholars are already quite worried about how the indictments appear to twist the law in potentially unconstitutional ways.

Why? Well, some of the charges are based on computer anti-fraud laws that prevent “unauthorized access.” And, here’s where the prosecutors got creative: they claim that in not providing truthful info to MySpace when registering (i.e., in breaking the terms of service), effectively Lori Drew “hacked” into MySpace’s computers in an unauthorized manner. Now, no matter what you think of what Lori Drew did (or what happened as a result), this would basically make anyone who fails to follow the exact terms of service of an online service a potential felony hacker. That is a problem. I recognize the desire to punish someone for what happened to Megan — but twisting the law this way will have very dangerous consequences.

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Comments on “Prosecutors Go Overboard In Indicting Woman Involved In MySpace Hoax That Resulted In Suicide”

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thatguy says:

Today show

I saw this on the Today Show just a few minutes ago. They had the mother on the show who was claiming that 20 years of a sentence would not be enough and that the lady should be put away for life. They then put a woman on who said “it’s about time.” I about lost it in the living room. I thought this is crazy at best and horribly bad and potentially negative trend setting at worst.

I think this is absolutely horrible no doubt, but the last thing I want is to be sent to jail for looking at kid the wrong way. Wrong? yes, but wrong enough to send the woman to jail? Not if it is going to set bad trends like this.

Sean says:

Good point

I passed over that story quickly with the usual reacton – sad, bad, and totally avoidable.
But your last paragraph got me thinking – I routinely give fake info when registering for various things – it’s amazing teh amount of info some sites look for in order to do something mundane;

For example Ryanair – just to get to the final price of the tickets (after all the add-ons, taxes & charges), you have to provide all the passenger details, addressing information, baggage information… If I’m just checking out prices, I’m not going to give ’em all that, and I don’t. Does that make me a felon for using their resources (pretty heavy ones at that, finding flights, finding seats, calculating prices…) whilst providing incorrect data??

known coward says:

bad cases make bad laws

I do believe Lori Drew needs to be prosecuted, or tarred and feathered, for what she did. And I do believe this site underestimates the importance of real life protections for criminal on line behaviour.

All that said, this is a bad application of the law, the conspiracy charge I get, the others I do not. Ms. Drew is many things, several of them criminal, but “hacking” clearly is not one of her crimes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 bad cases make bad laws

Being unfamiliar with law, someone may be able to clarify this better than myself.

Isn’t it illegal to ask someone to do something illegal? Does that fall under some conspiracy to commit **fill in the blank here**?

I would think telling someone the world would be better without them would be the same as telling them to off themself.

SomeGuy says:

Re: Re: Re:3 bad cases make bad laws

Conspiracy to commit suicide?

It was tragic what happened, but a key point here is that it was unintended. It was malicious, cruel, fairly stupid, and all three girls involved should be ashamed of themselves and owe some sort of restitution for their acts. But what should not happen is rwisting the laws in order to get revenge. It would be satisfying in the short term but would also pave the way for making our lives a lot harder to live. What she did was wrong, but it wasn’t illegal, and trying to make it illegal in retrospect is only going to get us all in trouble.

It’s not a crime for me to tell you you’re a waste of space. (I don’t hold such an opinion, I’m just making a point.) Now, I have no way of knowing if you have mental problems or not, and I don’t think I could be reasonably held accountable for the actions you take based on an off-hand comment I make. I’m sure they intended to hurt Megan by saing what that did, but they didn’t really mean she should kill herself.

It was tragic in all ways, but you can’t make it a crime.

knwon coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 bad cases make bad laws

2 points:

You and I are both adults, Mrs. Drew was telling an emotionally disturbed child to kill herself.

Mrs. Drew knew the kid was depressed and on medication. As a supossed friend of the family, she has some duty of care not to taunt her and drive the kid to suicide.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:4 bad cases make bad laws

No, not “conspiracy to commit suicide” but rather “conspiracy to harass”, “conspiracy to commit wire fraud” and both of those can be proven but most of us are all upset because we see that WE could be charged with a law that’s been on the books since the 1980’s and we simply chose to ignore it.

We see filling out the online forms as a tiny white lie but in reality it truly is a federal wire fraud charge; most people simply choose not to turn you over to the feds for this because you’ve likely done nothing else wrong but Lori went overboard and now she’s paying the price.

Kevin says:

Re: Re: Re:3 bad cases make bad laws

Isn’t it illegal to ask someone to do something illegal? Does that fall under some conspiracy to commit **fill in the blank here**?

Not always.

I would think telling someone the world would be better without them would be the same as telling them to off themself.

Not even close. And even if it were, would telling someone do kill themselves make you guilty of a crime if they went and killed themselves? Do you not believe that people have free will?

thatguy says:

Re: Re: Re: bad cases make bad laws

Bullying happens every day. Just go down to your local school and start arresting now. It is beyond reason that you would want this case to extend further than it should. The fact that it was online makes it no different than what happens in a school yard everyday. I guess since it was an adult, and don’t get me wrong I am not condoning anything she did and I do think it is wrong…Fine give her community service or maybe 1 year of jail time, but racking up all these charges for an unfortunate event is just wrong and will snowball much further than it should.

Anyone that commits suicide does it because they feel that they are being mistreated by society often particular people. Should we be investigating every suicide and prosecuting anyone that person my have had a problem with? I hope not!

amaya says:

Re: bad cases make bad laws

why should she be prosecuted? what for? she was a jerk online, any one who goes into irc knows that anyone can be a jerk from behind a keyboard. and if we say that being a jerk is a felony then we will need to build more jails.

the problem here is that everyone says that the parents should watch what there kids are doing online, and that kids should avoid strangers online, now, i dont know about you, but if some boy she had never met started talking to her, she should have just ignored him.

i often get friend requests on myspace from people i have never met, and what do i do? i dont develop a close intimate relationship with every one of them, i instead ignore them. and if she commited suicide just based on the quote “the world would be better of without you” then her mother should be locked up because the girl was obviously in a very fragile state with low self esteem. either from an abusive father, mean kids at school, or perhaps her mother dident love her, but just saying to a normal person “the world would be better of without you” is not grounds for them to off them self.

Kevin says:

I hate to say it...

…but there oughtta be a law against that. Unfortunatley, the odds are strong that it will be a bad law. So maybe there shouldn’t be a law against it.

When I was young we had to deal with all sorts of bullies all the time. You got thick skin and learned to deal with it. The fact that the harassment resulted in a girl with emotional problems (and what 13 year old girl doesn’t have some kind of emotional problems?) to kill herself is incredibly tragic.

The problem here isn’t that someone used a computer to do something. The computer was merely incidental. As someone else pointed out, you could have done the same thing via postal mail or some other medium, so trying to use computer laws doesn’t make sense in this case. The crime (if any was committed) was the harassment. It’s a shame that the state laws don’t allow her to be prosecuted. Usually they charge people with manslaughter for accidentally causing someone’s death, right? I suppose that probably doesn’t apply when the victim commits suicide though, that probably limited the prosecutor’s options quite a bit and they declined to prosecute something that wouldn’t stick.

Of course, they could have just decided not to deal with criminal charges and left it to the families to sort it out with a civil suit. I believe that there is probably a strong case here for a wrongful death case, or something similar. Not only are they more likely to win such a case, but it also seems like a more appropriate use of law than trying to twist something that doesn’t fit in the slightest and has implications that are far further reaching than most people realize.

When I saw the headline that the mother was being prosecuted, I thought it was a good idea. Now that I see how they’re doing it, I’m 100% opposed to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Guess i better stop using fake info for my yahoo mail account. yet another reason to hate Lori Drew and her bastard kid.

The prosecuters should focus more on the “world would be better off without you” qoute and try bending the law to make that illegal instead. I could kinda see how that could be criminal neglagence.

And now i have to explain why just because i dont agree with the charges aginst her i still dont support her to all my friends and neighbors

thecaptain says:

Stories abound about this tragic tale.

I think Lori Drew does need prosecution, however, I’m not sure that they are going about it with the right charges.

It’s a sort of horrific borderline case.

Then again, I’m not a lawyer (not even on TV) so I don’t understand the intricacies.

I mean, this woman, an “adult” 1) personally knew the child was mentally unstable and prone to depression 2) knowingly embarked on a cruel hoax against aforementioned child in an effort to protect/redeem/revenge her own precious snowflake. It wasn’t one statement designed to “end the friendship”. She convinced that young girl that a boy loved her, cultivated the relationship, then turned it nasty. To me that’s reckless endangerment…

I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to be charged with murder…but getting off scott-free with an “oopsy! Did I do that?” isn’t appropriate either.

I weep for humanity that someone out there thought it was perfectly ok to do something like that.

Nate (user link) says:

Good points...

This is a tragic story and the people involved with tricking this poor girl need to be punished. But, the route that they are trying to take this is going to set a precident that will implicate thousands of people of the same crime. I mean, how many people have, either multiple myspaces (maybe a personal one and a business one) or just use nicknames. I would wager that a great many people don’t use any real information on this site. Does that make them all guilty of felony hacking? I don’t think that everyone would ever be charged. But, the minute someone wanted to take action against someone, they just prove that they are using a “hacked” myspace account, and bring up criminal charges. This is a very slippery slope they are walking. There must be some other routes they can take.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Good points...

“I would wager that a great many people don’t use any real information on this site. Does that make them all guilty of felony hacking?”

Yes, it does as a matter of fact. The law has been on the books since the 1980’s. If the owner of the site chooses not to prosecute, it’s probably because you’ve done nothing else wrong and they have chosen to ignore your transgression.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re: Good points...

Actually, yes. This has nothing to do with the TOS, it has to do with the federal computer crime code from the 1980’s as well as other statutes involving harassment and/or fraud via electronic wire. It doesn’t take much to prove she used electronic wire to harass and the same charge they can get you with for crank calling.

Liam says:

lets not forget this girl was being medicated for depression, and other things, at 13…

If you would prefer to medicate your daughter, rather then talk to her, spend time and make her feel loved then you shouldn’t be a parent.

At 13, living in the suburbs, you can’t be depressed enoug hto warrant a huge amount of drugs.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re:

Hi Lori,

I didn’t know you were a Scientologist. Or are you Tom Cruise posing as Lori who is posing as someone who obviously isn’t Lori?

Glad you can try to throw the blame on Megan’s parents but since you don’t know her situation and are probably not qualified to diagnose psychological issues, let’s just say your response is simply crap.

Tony (user link) says:

Re: Re:

“If you would prefer to medicate your daughter, rather then talk to her, spend time and make her feel loved then you shouldn’t be a parent.”

And exactly what experience do you have dealing with (a) teenage daughters and (b) clinical depression?

CLINICAL depression is a chemical imbalance. Talking and spending time does NOT fix the chemical imbalance.

tess says:

Just curious

Wow, the majority of posters here seem to think this is a bad idea? I don’t know of any ADULTS who are sexually harassing & bullying a minor child online….do you? Maybe you should be contacting the proper authorities since it appears you think this happens all the time?
I also wonder what opinions would be if this had been a 49 year old MALE harassing a minor female child? Just curious. And before you say there wasn’t any sex talk, go read the indictments.

Alimas says:

Re: Just curious

Thats not whats being addressed here at all.
Whether or not she should be punished is getting mixed reactions in here.

Its the way the law is being applied. It may seem appropriate now, but one this has been set as applicable in this manner it’ll start getting used for all sorts of cases that don’t really warrant that sort of treatment.

Its about the precedent setting that this could do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The problem is not that she “hacked” MySpace, it’s that she harassed this girl and she should be charged for harassment or endangerment or whatever other legal terms would suffice. This is like charging someone for illegally discharging a firearm when he goes into a public building and kills a dozen people.

Kevin says:

Re: Re:

she wasn’t charged with “hacking”… FTA “accessing protected computers without authorization”. if you create a false identity and access a service contrary to the terms of service and commit a crime, i don’t have a problem with prosecutors going after her.

Only because there’s no such crime as “hacking”. The law used to prosecute “hackers” is a federal law that outlaws “unauthorized access to a protected computer system”. There are more details buried in there, but it’s essentially the same thing. I suspect she’ll get off though on several grounds. Firstly, he access was authorized even though she provided false information and violated the ToS. She set up the account, Myspace activated the account. Secondly, the system wasn’t truly protected because Myspace made no effort to verify the information used to create the account. So if you set up “protection system” that doesn’t actually “protect,” how can you claim the system is protected?

More to the point, if they want to use this law then the victim is no longer the dead girl or her family, the victim is Myspace. They are the ones who have to file the charges, which they have apparently decided to do (probably to avoid even more negative publicity). Unfortunately for Myspace, it will likely come out in court that what Myspace is calling “protection” isn’t any sort of protection at all. That’s going to be a big black eye for them. And then the victim’s family could decide that if Myspace claimed to have certain protection in place and the courts found that protection was just window dressing, doesn’t that make Myspace liable for the failures of their security system? After all, if Myspace had verified the identity of their users then this wouldn’t have happened.

Heck, for all we know the family went after Myspace first, and Myspace agreed to prosecute to get themselves off the hook.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Conspiracy to induce suicide or suicidal tendencies?

Perhaps a new crime: Conspiracy to induce suicide or suicidal tendencies?

It is probably irrelevant whether this is achieved via real or virtual identities.

It would be comparable to inciting violence or racial hatred say. But in this case, it’s like inciting self-violence or self-hatred.

Compare with anti-terrorism laws that prohibit inducing suicide bombers, i.e. in this case inducing someone to commit an act of suicidal ‘terrorism’ where the only victim is the ‘terrorist’ themselves.

Jack Kevorkian Jr. says:

A potential solution...

A crowd of people should stand outside her house and give her a hard time 24/7. Follow her around shopping/to work, etc and stick it to her. They should do this until 1) she kills herself, 2) attempts to kill one of them, or 3) leaves the area — at which time you begin the process anew until 1 or 2 happen.

Unless she has the means to get multiple restraining orders, this will probably be effective.

The nice part about this is it’s not taking the law into your own hands — since there is, apparently, no law that forbids goading people into killing themselves…

Come to think of it, could this be a new method of assisted suicide?

Anonymous Coward says:

Wow. Techdirt has always been on the wrong side of this case. First of all, nobody was prosecuted for “being a jerk online”. This case involved multiple ADULTS befriending and flirting with an under age CHILD in order to gain their confidence and manipulate them.

Kathy Sierra is harassed on line by one anonymous moron and it’s the end of the world. A 13 year old girl is the recipient of harassment by fraudulent, ill-meaning **ADULTS** several times her age and it’s just “being a jerk”. Are you fucking kidding me?!

Since when is an adult posing online as a child and engaging in sexual conversations with a child (we know that at the least flirting went on) simply being “a jerk”?

I don’t want people to be forced to hand over their documents and identity in order to get online. I don’t want to revokke anonymity. I don’t want to prosecute people for “being a jerk”. But I do want this specific individual and her family to pay. If they had harassed her to half this degree IN MEATSPACE, nobody would have tolerated it. This case goes FAR BEYOND simply “punishing someone for being a jerk”.

mercury says:

Prosecutors Go Overboard In Indicting Woman Involved In MySpace Hoax That Resulted In Suicide

Suppose you know an old man has already heart problems , if you call him and as a lie tell him your son died in an accident today, and the old man dies because of the resulting heart attack, is this freedom of speech or actually you murdered him? the same is here, Lori Drew knew that Megan had “ADD” problem.Watch 04:20 of the clip below,as her attorney admits this :

Alimas says:

Re: Prosecutors Go Overboard In Indicting Woman Involved In MySpace Hoax That Resulted In Suicide

Do you even know what ADD is?
I can tell you its nothing like being a hair away from killing yourself such as the old man with the heart problem was.
A group of full grown adults manipulated this little girl over a long period of time.

The ADD is irrelevant and your example has no comparison.

mercury says:

Re: Re: Prosecutors Go Overboard In Indicting Woman Involved In MySpace Hoax That Resulted In Suicide


Significant associations between suicide and self-harm, injuries owing to assault, and diagnosis of ADD were found. Patients diagnosed with ADD stayed in the hospital longer than others, disregarding the cause of their injury.

Children and adolescents with ADD are at risk of being victims of assaults, as well as suicide and self harm. Assessment for ADD can be considered as part of school-age childhood screening programs…..GOT IT ?!!!

Jason says:

Re: Re: Re: Prosecutors Go Overboard In Indicting Woman Involved In MySpace Hoax That Resulted In Suicide

In statistical speak, “significant associations” is what you say when you come short of even a correlation. Usually this means there’s a link, but the numbers aren’t strong enough for it to be diret. i.e. ADD kids are more likely to struggle in school. Kids who struggle in school are more likely to have emotional distress. Kids under emotional distress are more likely to become depressed. Kids who are depressed are more likely to commit suicide.

That doesn’t exactly equate to “Oh, he’s got ADD, we better be careful he doesn’t hurt himself.”

Anonymous Coward says:

All of those here that THINK that this wasn’t justified!

What this ADULT did resulted in the death of a CHILD. She is accountable and should be held responsible for her actions.

Involuntary manslaughter at least and 20+ years IS what she deserves and then maybe others won’t think that this is acceptable behavior from an ADULT!

Give em the chair! says:

Serves em right

“It was tragic what happened, but a key point here is that it was unintended. It was malicious, cruel, fairly stupid, and all three girls involved should be ashamed of themselves and owe some sort of restitution for their acts. But what should not happen is rwisting the laws in order to get revenge.”

WRONG! Just because an end result of your action was not intended does not mean that a harsh punishment should not be put in place! If this was your child you have a different opinion. The “Adult”, who was 49 FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, was quite aware that that poor girl suffered from depression and other things of that nature. I think the harshest punishment should be put in place in the hopes that it will prevent future malicous attacks on people. Afterall, if you are the cause of an accident because of talking on your cellphone and not paying attention and that accident results in a death, you were not being malicious, but your neglect and disregard for the people around you should warrent, at a minimum a manslaughter charge.

Thats my opinion. Good topic of debate!

Chris says:

Missing the Point

Everyone is forgetting that a 13 year old killed herself. Everyone is worried about their own selves and being able to do whatever they want online. Why is forcing people to follow the Conduct or Rules on a site a bad thing, isn’t that why they are there? Was this girl suicidal before this, I doubt it. Saying Megan is responsible for Megan is partly true, but she was 13, being manipulated by a pathetic adult who has so little of a a life she has time to get involved with her daughters petty squabbles. Is the mother so proud she was able to manipulate a 13 year old, I hope she gets “manipulated” in prison.

ehrichweiss says:

Al Capone

They nailed Al Capone on tax evasion charges, not the racketeering charges they initially sought and yet most of us don’t feel the least bit sorry for Al Capone. In the same way, I don’t feel the least bit sorry for Lori Drew. She put herself in position to conspire to harass Megan via fraudulent means. No matter how you look at it conspiracy, harassment and fraud are a part of the actions she took, if they don’t have a law that specifically fits the crime then they have several smaller laws that will apply to each smaller action Lori took to accomplish her nastiness.

She did use “electronic wire” to harass and there is a law on the books for that. She did illegally access a website to commit that harassment and there are laws against that illegal access as well; even if they normally choose not to prosecute because you don’t want to give out your real name, the moment Lori’s intent became to harass, she put herself under the scrutiny of the prosecutors and then they’ll find any little thing you’ve done wrong and make it stick to you even if most of the country does the exact same thing.

They nailed Dr. Kevorkian for assisting people with suicide but the charge they got him with wasn’t “assisting people with suicide”. I’m all for Dr. K but he did put himself in a position to be scrutinized and so he paid the price. Lori Drew has done the same and I hope they stick it to her.

So enjoy those tears Lori, I know I am.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Al Capone

most of us don’t feel the least bit sorry for Al Capone because the tax evasion laws they used to prosecute and convict him exist for exactly the crime he was accused of and convicted for. It’s not like they stretched existing laws beyond any recognition and with dire and ridiculous consequences for the population at large…

secondly, as already stated by many, using a fake identity is a violation of the policy of the website, however it is not criminal and there is no prosecution because it is a civil matter

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Al Capone

except, let’s be honest, Megan wasn’t harassed, in fact she loved the attention from the fictional boy up to the point when he “broke up” with her.

Now I understand the sentiment fueling certain reactions and feelings, a 13 year old is dead etc…, but seriously, where’s the harassment? Because if you somehow make the case that she was harassed, from now on, every (real) break up in a romantic relationship, or falling out between friends, that does not happen on the best of terms will equally be eligible for harassment charges.

Not related to this reaction, but I’ve read people say Megan’s parents are to blame and others reply they’re not. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Megan’s parents are responsible for her death (although at the time, I remember reading something about Megan committing suicide after an argument with her mom, but let’s forget about that) and that they weren’t bad parents, etc…
Here’s my take on it: either they didn’t know their 13 year old daughter was having an intense, erotic and even virtual sexual relationship with a (as far as they would know) 16 year old boy, or they knew and were ok with it…neither of which, in my book, would fall under the category good parenting. That doesn’t make them responsible for her suicide, but it does for sure exclude them from the good parents club

Nasch says:

Re: Al Capone

she put herself under the scrutiny of the prosecutors and then they’ll find any little thing you’ve done wrong and make it stick to you even if most of the country does the exact same thing.

Yes, but this is not a good thing. We don’t want there to be so many criminal statutes enforced .001% of the time that a prosecutor can, whenever he wants, charge you with multiple felonies you didn’t even know existed. That’s a setup for a police state. We’re not there yet, but it kind of feels like we’re headed in that direction, and this case may be an example of that.

We all know this woman is despicable and we have no sympathy for her. It’s not about that.

Gracey says:

I’d have to agree that the woman should be punished – an adult deliberately luring a child into an online relationship in order to hurt that child deserves punishment of some sort.

The application of the law is bad. Find another way, or use another law.

Does anybody give the full truth in signing up for anything on the net? Hopefully NOT.

Anonymous Coward says:

I guess the part that has me the most confused is why it’s not the girls fault? Honestly, if someone tells me to jump off a building, and I do it of my own accord, wasn’t that my choice? Yes, this crazy old lady violated MORAL rules, however, legally I do not see how she did anything that could actually be upheld in court.

All the crimes they listed are simply absurd and not intended for anything like this. If someone thinks she acted immorally (as I do) that’s fine, but it’s very different than violating actual law…. politicians violate morality all the time, but I don’t see many of them behind bars.

scott says:

Re: Anon Coward - 7:22am

wrong. doing what this woman did and casualy telling someone to jumb off a bridge are two different things. This girls suicide is a direct result of the actions taken by this woman. She should be punished just like every other person who has punished for a malicious act that results in death.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Anon Coward - 7:22am

wrong. doing what this woman did and casualy telling someone to jumb off a bridge are two different things. This girls suicide is a direct result of the actions taken by this woman. She should be punished just like every other person who has punished for a malicious act that results in death.

The problem is the definition of a malicious act. Regardless of how immoral something someone does maybe, there has to be an exact criminal law violated for it to be a legal matter. If lying to someone about their identity and later offhandedly telling them the world would be better of without them is shown to be a true violation of some crime, at least half the people on the dating scene will be arrested.

Monarch says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Anon Coward - 7:22am

Yep, that is why probably 90% of divorces and breakups should have people prosecuted for Malice!

People, it was tragic that a young girl committed suicide. And, I hope Lori Drew pays for it in some way. But.., the Government should not set a precedence of bending laws to make just about everyone who uses the internet guilty of a felony, just to punish a woman for horrible morals that led to the tragic death of a young girl.
So please drop the Lynch Mob mentality and think with some Logical reasoning, DON’T let the government twist laws that could land yourself in jail. And if you want to continue to have the Lynch Mob mentality, go be a vigilante yourself, not by proxy behind the government twisting laws.

Oh yeah, if any of you actually knew about the case, which I read about when it originally was a story. It’s only 1 (ONE) adult, and a couple teenagers who conspired to create the false MySpace page.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Anon Coward - 7:22am

actually, if you want to be a stickler for accuracy, it wasn’t “this woman” who told Megan the world would be better off without her, so shouldn’t you focus your wrath on the girl that actually made the comment? Wouldn’t she be much more responsible than Lori Drew?

DMM says:

Problem & Solution

Lori Drew is scum of the earth, because what she did is despicable. Unfortunately, current laws don’t appear adequate to prosecute her for her actions. Twisting current laws to prosecute her will only cause harm to our criminal justice system, and especially to all of us, in the long run.

Legislators need to stand up and take action. They need to pass laws so that scum like Lori Drew can be properly prosecuted for malicious actions like hers in the future.

I would suggest amending current harassment laws to make it a crime to harass another person using an assumed identity and persona, if the harassment is linked to any resulting serious bodily injury, but carve out an exception that remaining anonymous is not adopting an assumed identity or persona. This would essentially make what Lori Drew did a crime, without jeopardizing our rights to anonymous speech online, and without creating a law that says mere words themselves are harmful.

Magusyk says:

#29 said it best:

I don’t use my real information either on many online form, but never with the attempt to bully and manipulate a CHILD!

Throw the book at her and let every law that sticks determine her fate!
#23 said it also “And I don’t think that it is JUST about giving false info , It is about giving false info to gain access to something in the act of a crime that lead to the death of a minor.”

There is much more to this case then just that she gave inaccurate info online, Its about the end results mostly and what she did to get to that point.


Valkor says:

Re: Re:

Magusyk, #29 may have said it “best”, but he also highlighted the difference between the rule (not law) being broken and the appropriate punishment.

Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket for going 10 over? You may not have been driving recklessly, or even *meaning* to do it, but it’s still an infraction. By the comparison of #29, speeding tickets should only be given out after car accidents.

The point is that she’s not being prosecuted for being a cruel, heartless bitch, she’s being prosecuted for violating a TOS *because* she’s a cruel, heartless bitch, and many of us are wondering if that’s a good thing for the law to do.


Gary says:

She is guilty of Morality and unethical behavior that is it. If the girl did not kill her self but was just mad we would not have heard of this. Was the effect what we are punning? I personally think what she did was wrong. But what was it illegal? This is a good topic to discuss in an ethics class. Ethics is a higher standard then the law. Just becuse something is not ethical does it make it illegal. If I told some one to drop dead and they decide to jump off a building should I go to jail????

Lynn (profile) says:

I think the mother of the suicide girl should be punished

If anyone is to be punished, its the mother of the dead girl. there is obviously some poor parenting going on. If a child isnt emotionally secure enough to avoid suicide, I believe its the parents fault. If the parents had been supportive enough, maybe the child would have realized that she could have went to her Mother and Father for help when she felt so broken hearted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I think the mother of the suicide girl should be punished

She was a child. the parent should have seen the signs of depression. If they were more involved in their kids lives, maybe they could have prevented this. The world is a cruel place, so should we go out and prosecute everyone that says something to make us feel bad? Geez… get some skin.
Besides, if the parents were paying more attention to their childrens surfing habits, they would have seen what was going on.

I guess your one of those folks who think we should censor everything to “save the children” when in reality, the parents should be actually PARENTING and teaching their children wrong from right.

scott says:

Re: Re: Re: I think the mother of the suicide girl should be punished

another ignorant comment. Do some homework on the story. The parents new of her depression and were taking the appropraite steps to treat it. Not being able to filter everything that comes into contact with your child doesnt make you a bad parent.

Dharma Bum says:


lets not forget this girl was being medicated for depression, and other things, at 13…

If you would prefer to medicate your daughter, rather then talk to her, spend time and make her feel loved then you shouldn’t be a parent.

At 13, living in the suburbs, you can’t be depressed enoug hto warrant a huge amount of drugs

As a clinical psychologist I see young people like this all the time. Your assumption that the parents are just filling their daughter with pills because they don’t care about her is not only likely incorrect, it is ignorant of the facts and blames the victim.

Depression often has as much to do with biology as it does with psychology. I’ve had parents, who are very much involved, frantic because they know their child is depressed and they have tried everything they know to do and it hasn’t worked.

Also, just because you live in the suburbs doesn’t mean your life is an easy ride. You have no idea what she was struggling with in her life. Where she lived made no difference.

kavorkian (profile) says:

assisted suicide works for me

to blame, or not to blame, that is the question. If someone fails to commit suicide, the are arrested and charged with attempted suicide, spend months or years in psychiatric “prison”. If someone is present when a suicide happens, and they know it is happening, they are arrested for allowing it to happen. Criminal case aside, it would be comical, if beside the wrongful death suit, that all the josh evans (or whatever the fake name was) also sued for impersonation, slander, and defamation of character. With stretches in the law with the criminal case, these stretches are minute in comparison

Patrick says:

all of them should be punished

I don’t think any of these laws should or could be used. It would distort them too much. I do think she should be punished along with the other kids that were making her life hell. They should all get a couple years of community service and leave it at that.

The person that should be at fault for the girl killing herself is the parents of the girl. She was unsupervised online and shouldn’t have been. Plain and simple.

scott says:

Re: all of them should be punished

so let me get this straight. You do not think that the “adult” should be punished for maliciously attacking a 13yr old girl, not to mention impersonating a minor in attempt to deceive while engaging in sexual dialogue……but you beleive that every 13yr old that gets on a computer should have a parent standing over their shoulder??

Thirsty Thetan (profile) says:

Liam, your $cientology is showing

I’m quite surprised you didn’t provide links to your anti-psych hate sites sponsored by CCHR.

What were the massive amounts of drugs Megan was on? How often did she take them? Was she taking them when she died? You don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but it doesn’t matter anyway, because according to ElWrong Hubtard, drugs and psychiatry are evil, right?

Yes, according to you, someone who is depressed just needs fresh air, vitamins and a good game of Monopoly with the family. Any 13-year-old will easily be able to thwart the actions of their 49-year-old neighbor who is attempting to manipulate them with cruelty and fraud, if only they could get hugs and smores with the family. You and Tom Cruise should get together. Wait, are you Tom Cruise? Sorry, I guess I got a little “glib” there.

You are retarded and a waste of oxygen. But please, don’t go killing yourself. You might not like the new body your thetan picks up after the implant station. You might end up with a cruel neighbor who bullies you on the interwebs.


Withheld says:

Scary stuff..

Lori’s actions were wrong and what happened in the end was tragic. But prosecuting Lori on computer anti-fraud laws, by for her using a false name, seems scary in the world of myspace.

I had a troubled teenager living with me that was addicted to myspace. His mother was a real work of art, didn’t want him and so I took him in. I tired every effort to block him from that darn site through parental software and my router. I underestimated the kid and every time I returned home I’d discover had been on myspace again through the use of proxy servers. I battled blocking proxy servers for a while and then eventually gave up because it isn’t possible to block them all. I couldn’t block the internet completely because I’m a web developer and internet is crucial for my job and two of my own children also use the internet. Eventually the troubled teen got expelled from school and told him he wasn’t going to live with me if not in school.

I moved him back to his mother’s so she could place him back in school there. He wanted to live back with her anyways because she let him get away with what ever he wanted. I later found out she let him drop out. That b*%ch!

The one thing that bugged me the most was that he was ignorant enough to use his real name and town of residence on his myspace profile. I also discovered that the majority of the people he associated with on myspace listed their real names and locations as well. The teens would use their myspace accounts as public journals; announce parties, name and talk about their schools, and all sorts of stupid stuff. I think that people and especially children should never identity their selves over the internet.

If prosecuting Lori on computer anti-fraud laws forces users to provide their real identity on myspace then I’m scared for the underage adults that use myspace. It would be pretty unsettling if everyone had to give their real identity on myspace or else face the possibility of prosecution for breaking these terms. That would make children, whom are smart enough not to give out their personal information, more vonerable.

TriZz says:

I mean, really?

Who does that? What adult says to a 13 year-old “The world would be a better place without you”? It’s evil. It really is evil.

I’m a bit torn here…I feel the adult who participated in the hoax should be punished. 13 year-olds are confused and very susceptible to the input of others. An adult, with a child of her own, should know this.

However, as much of a dick-move that was…it’s not illegal. Harassment at most. This is tragic that a 13 year-old felt the only way to escape the pain was to off herself…but the adult wasn’t planning on that to happen.

I dunno. I’m just as confused about this as the rest of the people in this thread.

VoxD'Raisin says:

While I certainly don’t condone the actions of the adult being charged, I do have this question:
If Lori Drew can be charged (see the first link in the second paragraph) for fraudulent access to MySpace, why isn’t the dead teen’s underage access to MySpace also considered a crime, and her parents charged for the same “fraudulent” access?

AJ says:

The real Criminal ......

Is the mom of the 13 year old. Where was she when this little girl was building a relationship to the point that once the relationship fell apart, she killed herself? I thought the parents responsibility was to supervise the child, and protect her from these types of things? Sounds like negligence on the parents part. I would like to see her pay for allowing this to happen in the first place…

nipseyrussell says:

oh, they are doing something? and its stupid and destined to fail and will waste a lot of time and lead to bad laws or precedents in order to punish one person for what is basically a fluke and might lead to me being arrested for being mean to you all under the name Nipsey Ruseel???
my bad. carry on doing nothing.

Thirsty Thetan (profile) says:

The real Criminal

AJ, are you the parent of a teenager? Do you deal with teenagers on a daily basis?

Teenagers will do whatever they can get away with. If you start getting all up in the middle of their business, they’re more likely to distance themselves and be more secretive and sneaky.

I will add, though, that the PC should be in a common area of the house (don’t know where it was in this case) so that children will be less likely to try to do things they’ve been told not to do.


RMT says:

Something wrong still with Lori Drew.

While the law has a hard time protecting children online (beyond COPPA), clearly something wrong occurred. Lori Drew helped children demoralize a classmate. The outcome might be rare because it resulted in suicide but I see this a large problem. For example, when parents are involved, the playground conflicts of cheerleaders escalate. Because this is overt action against a child, Lori Drew’s actions are different then simply ignoring a child being tormented by classmates as teachers often do. In the article, it assumes that Lori Drew did not want to harm a child. This is not believable based upon her actions. Lori Drew, as a parent, knew she could escalate peer torment and harm to Megan.

dave says:

So what if it had been a real boy

I fail to see how this woman did anything bad enough to go to prison. If it had been a real boy that broke it off with her and she killed herself, would he be going to prison?

Seems to me the kid that killed herself over an internet relationship might have had some issues going on. We all get dumped at some point in our lives and most of us survive it.

Now it was wrong of this person to impersonate a boy and they should be punished but putting a woman in prison for it is crazy. The only way I could say yes to that idea is if these people set out to make this girl kill herself, which I doubt very much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just read this on another blog about this story, dont know if it has been said here or not.

The charge is NOT for violating the TOS…….. its for violating the TOS with INTENT TO DO HARM.

Thus giving a false name to yahoo mail is NOT a CRIMINAL offense, giving a false name to yahoo mail then using that account to plan a crime/harras/illegaly spam ect IS CRIMINAL more specifically.

Thus this is really a non issue. Your interweb pron surfings are safxxors

AC from #82 says:

Well i see this thread is no longer about the TOS issue and more about weather Drew should go to jail or not, so in that case, I feel she should at least be sued in civil court if not given some light jail time 6 months or so. Her actions may not be the ONLY factors in megans suiside after all.

However she will probably burn at the cross for this, but hey there are consiquenses for every choice…… weather the consiquenses are fair or not is irrelevent up for speculation

Chris says:


This is ridiculous.

Suicide: Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the willful act of killing oneself.

Is it tragic when a child (or anyone) commits suicide? Absolutely! But face it people, if someone is at such a depressed level as to believe that suicide is the only way out then that person has serious psychological problems.

Perhaps the instigations online contributed to Megan’s death. But so might have oppressed classmates, that failed test at school, an eating disorder, etc. I’m not saying any of these things happened to Megan but I am saying that there are always multiple contributions to psychological disorder. Typically, these are categorized as nature and nurture.

First, there is no law that prevents someone from being an idiot, rude, insensitive, etc. This is a country where we have freedom of speech, people. The woman had every right to be rude and obnoxious just as much as Megan had every right to ignore her and close her MySpace account (or whatever).

Second, if this contributor to Megan’s psychological instability is to be blamed then someone better damned well be hunting down every other contributor and prosecuting it just as fervently.

Suicide, by definition, is willful and a crime against oneself. Nobody held a gun to Megan’s head and said “kill yourself before I do!”

Megan’s parents: I’m sorry your kid killed herself. Perhaps you should be prosecuted for failure to be involved enough in your kid’s life to know what is going on in it. Or maybe failure to show your kid good morals and values and teach her when to ignore morons online. Or maybe even failure to monitor the online activities of a minor. We could make up all sorts of laws to put the “blame” of Megan’s own actions and psychological instability somewhere else.

Anonymous Coward says:

To above, So there is nothing wrong with an outside party encouraging suiside of a depressed person? you would find nothing wrong with someone going to a mental hospital and daring all the suisidal patients to kill them selves? or talking them into it? posing as a doctor telling them there loved ones died and they should do the world a favor and kill themselves. Again may not be criminal, but Lori Drew should AT LEAST be civilly liable. if she is charged criminally i would say 6 months or so would be fair, but this should more likley be a civil case.

Raybone says:

Emotions do not have an IQ

I see now why the rule of law Must trump the rule of the mob. As most of these comments prove, emotions do not have an IQ. Many of you would like to punish Lori Drew so bad that all sense flies out of the window.
what this adult did to this child is despicable but there is NO provable evidence that her mean, dirty trick made Lori responsible for Megan’s suicide. I could take most of the posters’ logic and make a case that Megan’s PARENTS were ultimately responsible for her suicide for fomenting an unrealistic expectation in Megan for life having no bumps in the road. So…Megan thought some 16 yr old didn’t like her any you move on and get over it or do you overreact and kill yourself. That was Megan’s choice and I am sorry that she chose what she did. As many here expressed in defense of these UNCONSTITUTIONAL charges vs Lori, we don’t know the situation…well that cuts both ways…perhaps her parents weren’t there as a support system, IDK, but neither do you. Using unprovable assumptions, I could make a case that TV or society in general caused this, though I would be wrong as are you who believe that there is a legal case vs Lori. Definitely there is a moral one and society is already making her pay for her infantile actions and lets not forget that Ive heard or read nothing of Lori expressing any sort of remorse which in my mind makes her one of the coldest bitches in history. These are my feelings, but they should NOT be about a slippery slope!
As many have during teen years, I was bullied, beat up, called the most horrible names, wished death upon,..all of it. I also dated, was active in sports and music, went to prom, etc…there were times I felt that the world was going to end over some ultimately trivial didn’t Lori had no power over Megan that Megan did not give her. What if it were ACTUALLY a 16 yr old bastard instead of Lori (as indeed to the end she believed)? People, stop and use you brain instead of you emotions….you’ll get a lot farther

r. decline (profile) says:

just wondering...

just wondering if anybody else is thinking of this with the suicide removed from it… i mean there is an adult woman who fakes an account with the intention to seek our a minor and make that minor fall in love with them and sends them explicit messages… we sure convict that…

as for her not intending for meg to kill herself, yeah so what? i’m sure the drunk driver who hit and killed my friends sister didn’t intend to kill her either. he was just trying to get home. and while this “prank” (a light term for it if you ask me but then i’ve read alot about this case) might not have been meant to make her commit suicide, it was meant to harass her, find out what she might be saying about the woman’s daughter, and to cause her distress. and since we are handing out be involved parenting advice here, being a good parent is not going to this length just because your daughter isn’t best friends with someone anymore…

Luke (user link) says:


There should be no liability on the part of Lori Drew. She didn’t make the kid commit suicide. For that matter, I’ve heard and said something along those lines to people before (i.e. maybe the world would be a better place if you just dropped dead). I mean really what she did was mean, but there’s no law against being mean.

There’s no logical reason to go after Lori Drew. Don’t let your emotions over some kid confuse the matter. There is no rational, logical reason or law to go after Lori Drew for this.

AJ says:

Post 78 ..

NO kids, but I used to deal with them on a daily basis. They were not my kids, but I could still tell if something was wrong. I agree with you that they are sneaky, and will do whatever they can get away with, but this wasn’t a freak occurance. This was a plot hatched over time. If the computer has no monitoring software, or the parent was not watching the child while they were online, they have to be prepared to take some of the blame when something like this happens, just like if the child was running around the neiborhood breaking things.

Luke (user link) says:

Post 78 / AJ

I agree with AJ. If you’re such a poor parent as to not have a decent working relationship with your child when they hit teen years – then you’re a crap parent.

I don’t have kids, but I was one recently (I’m 25, so my teens were only 5 years ago). And while I didn’t tell my parents everything about my life there was still a level of respect, friendship, and love shared between us. Mom knew when things weren’t good because she paid attention and knew me.
Anything that happened across more than a few weeks she at least had an idea about.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:


Good to see all of those who so easily give in to their emotions are out and visiting us today.
How nice of you all to want somebody who did something wrong to be prosecuted, bad precedent setting be damned.
Such a large lack of forward thinking.

And I must laugh at the one guy who just started calling everyone who disagreed with him Lori. Thats like, what, 4th grade intelligence?

Only quick direct response I am tossing in here, to #87.
The drunk driver is a HORRIBLE analogy. The girl killed herself. Lori did not directly kill her. You would have to change it around to the drunk driving having killed all of your friends in the car except one. Then that last one goes and kills themselves because of the prior event. It would even then be a bad analogy but at least it is a tiny bit more accurate to actual events.

You never know says:

I’m afraid I have to disagree with Chris. Where I do feel it was irrespirable for Megan’s parents that allowed the relationship in the first place, I feel the actions taken by Lori Drew nothing less than conspiracy to commit manslaughter. Using the internet as the weapon should be no less a crime as using any other tool. Example; if a car swerves in order to scare someone and the victim gets killed when they jump in front of another vehicle in order to escape being hit by the first car, is the first driver guilty or not? Lori Drew used my space to pray on a child who she knew was emotionally sensitive, the outcome is a dead child. As an adult she is the responsible for her conduct and the conduct of those around her. As an adult, and a mother, she is responsible for protecting children, not just her own but all children. As a law abiding citizen, she is responsible for “doing no harm” to others around her. As far as I can see she is as guilty as hell!

r. decline (profile) says:

responce to killer_tofu

yeah i know its not a good analogy to the entire case here, it was only to serve the purpose to say that it doesn’t always matter what your intentions are…thats it. its not to draw anymore of a parallel to any of the case. but saying she didn’t mean for the girl to kill herself is doesn’t matter.

is the mother being railroaded with these charges? yeah, of course, but frankly i don’t care. lots of people get screwed over everyday in our system and at least this lady deserves some type of punishment. (as i mentioned, being a good parent is NOT contacting a minor as an underage boy, initiating an “intimate” relationship with them to see why she isn’t friends with her daughter anymore and then knowing she is emotionally unstable harassing her over and over again) does this mother deserve the max that she is facing here? i don’t know, probably not. will this draw attention to this potential lack of being able to prosecute similar cases? probably so and in that maybe something will be done. are we going to start seeing the defense of, “my client was cybering with that minor to harass them your honor which is not prosecutable” probably not…but man that would be funny.

MIchael says:


This case has almost no chance of success. If there is any court action that is feasable here, it is civil. Her lawyer could show up the first day of court with a list of a million fraudulent Myspace accounts and demand equal prosecution for all. Not to say this women isn’t a vile waste of space, but hatred does not make for good laws. All this is going to accomplish is wasting taxpayer money. These people WILL pay for what they did, because they have already been found guilty by the media and everyone that has read about this atrocity, they had to move and will have to hide from this forever, but even if they somehow manage to convict her on these charges, an appeal in federal court will overturn it without any doubt. There is no law that can convict you of harrassing someone to suicide, it has been tried in court many times, in fact the only charge here that hasn’t been sucessfully beaten in court is the unauthorised access charge, and that one is completely ridiculous. This said, I hope this bitch gets whats coming to her.

Anonymous Coward says:

A few points worth mentioning that have not been discussed:

* While Lori Drew did come up with the idea of setting this up, it wasn’t to harass the girl, but to befriend her in a way where Megan would share what she was saying about Lori Drew’s daughter. She did this after Megan had been saying mean things about Drew’s daughter. This doesn’t excuse anything, but those who are saying that she did this to harass don’t seem to recognize this aspect of it. It wasn’t set up to intentionally harass.

* Most of the comments made to Megan were done by Drew’s daughter and another teenager, not Drew herself. Those saying that Drew said “the world would be better off without you” are wrong. It was another teen who wrote that message.

* The teen who wrote that message claims that she wasn’t doing it to harass or upset Megan, but as a (poorly chosen) way of ending the whole hoax. She agreed that the whole thing had gone too far and (stupidly) thought that if the fake boy insulted Megan, it would be the best way to end that “friendship.”

So, it often wasn’t Drew doing things and it wasn’t intended to harass the girl or make her commit suicide or anything.

It’s still an awful situation, but the motives and actions might not be as bad as the lynch mob is making out.

Dharma Bum says:


I’m not sure Lori Drew should be punished any further. She is known by more people in America now than she ever wanted as someone associated with the death of a teenager and being involved in cyber bullying. She has been analyzed, scrutinized, and demonized through the media and countless sites such as this one and she will have to live with this even after she falls out of the news cycle. Someone will always remember that she was involved.

Just because we have all been bullied and survived doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Some survive it with little damage, some survive it with a lot of damage. It would be great if we didn’t have to survive it at all.

Suicide is a willful act in that the person does it to themselves. Most individuals who commit suicide don’t want to die, they want to stop the intense pain they feel. Unfortunately they choose a long-term solution to a short-term problem. The pain would get better. But they do this because they are desperate and hopeless. It doesn’t necessarily mean they were stupid, gutless, unloved, or unsupervised. It takes about 2 minutes to hang yourself. The person who decides to kill themselves often does so impulsively. If they have decided to end their lives they may actually appear in better spirits because they see an end in sight. This isn’t a rationally made decision. This is an act of desperation. The family that is left behind feels devastated and haunted. They blame themselves sometimes for the rest of their lives about what they could have done, should have done.

We should let our emotions get caught up for some kid. This kid. Any kid. Teenage suicide and bullying are significant problems. There is enough tragedy and grief to go around in this sad set of events. I don’t know what the answer is. Did one or two (or more) exchanges cause this young woman to commit suicide? It is hard to know, probably not, but cruelty never helps anyone. Is jail the answer? I doubt it. I work in a prison and I don’t see that it has any particular curative powers. Unless she is a sociopath (which is a very rare condition) Lori Drew is paying a price for her poor judgment already and on some level for the rest of her life. She has to live with her capacity for hurting others and rethink her decisions for years to come. That’s a lot though so might not think it’s enough. I just think it’s all so very, very sad.

Anonymous Coward says:


I can’t believe people here are actually comparing a time they got their butt kicked on the playground by another kid to what Lori Drew did. I’m sorry that you were too weak to defend yourself against another child when you were growing up, how do you think you would have fared against an adult? Before you sound off on getting beat up by an adult, in most cases a beating leaves a lot less damage than harassment and humiliation.

In response to people with the attitude that Megan made the decision to kill herself and she is the only one to blame. Sorry, but I think that is absurd. She was only 13. Do you think it’s ok for someone to offer drugs and alcohol to a 13 year old girl as long as she consents to taking them? Do you think it’s ok for a 45 year old man to have sex with a 13 year old as long as she consents to it?

I’m not sure whether or not I feel Lori has been punished enough. Regardless of what her original intentions were, they were in no way good. Even if this debacle didn’t end with the death of Megan, by coming up with the scheme and encouraging children to take part in it Lori taught her children and the other children who were involved that this type of behavior is “adult approved” and acceptable. Lori’s irresponsible decision has messed up a lot of lives. Any parents out there care to comment on how they would feel about another adult involving their children in something like this?

I think she has proven herself to be a possible danger to children and should be treated accordingly.

This tragedy needs to be studied and learned from. There may not be laws in place to punish people who do this type of thing but there certainly should be. In virtually all other situations people are held accountable regardless of what their intentions were. This situation should be treated no differently in that aspect.

JustMe says:

Double standard?

#29 and #67 are right on the mark. Setting aside the morality, and the fact that as an adult she knew what she was doing. The act of impersonating a minor to engage in sexual dialog was illegal. Imagine if an adult male had gone in there pretending to be a minor and engaged in that sort of dialog with her, people would be FREAKING out. How is this any different? Once we agree on that point, it is easy enough to add on the other charges.

somedude says:

I would love for Lori Drew to rot in jail for a very long time, but trumping up crappy charges that don’t fit isn’t the way to do it.

If she can be charged with this, what does that say about all of the convictions of sexual predators who will no doubt claim they were tricked by adults illegally claiming to be children?

Think of the bigger picture or what kind of precedent this will set.

FifthE1ement (user link) says:

Where do we draw the line?

Are you people nuts? If I call you an idiot and you go and step in front of a train is that my fault? No it’s YOURS! Just because some people have low self-esteem doesn’t mean that they are exempt from their own actions. I’m not saying what Lori Drew did was right nor am I saying what happened to the child is not a tragedy but this is no one’s fault. If the child’s parents had been monitoring the child’s internet activities more closely perhaps this tragedy might have been averted. By bringing vague bogus charges against Lori Drew officials are crossing a very dangerous line which once crossed cannot be undone.

Imagine if food critics could be sued because they don’t like a particular Chef’s recipe? What if a pop star off’ed himself after being told he blew royally by Simon Cowell? Now imagine if a 13 year old girl committed suicide after being told by a supposed older boy she was worthless? There is nothing wrong with any of these scenarios and the only reason anyone is making a huff is because the boy turned out not to be a boy at all! A crime should not be created just for the sake of purposely trying to convict the ones “supposedly” responsible. Remember the old motherly adage about jumping off a bridge if someone told you to do so or if everyone else was going to? Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining and don’t blame someone for another’s stupidity.


PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Where do we draw the line?

…and I decide to read this thread and the last comment is just as idiotic as most of the others. Sorry, FifthE1ement, for singling you out but these comments bear repeating:

“If I call you an idiot and you go and step in front of a train is that my fault? “

You are, of course, completely missing the point here:

1. Megan was *clinically depressed*, for which she was taking medication and being treated by a psychiatrist. This wasn’t a case where someone was simply made to feel bad, but a case where someone with a history of mental problems was pushed over the edge.

2. Lori Drew and her daughter *knew this*! She wasn’t picking on a random kid, but her daughter’s former best friend. It should have been clear that playing with Megan’s emotions in this way could have severe and unexpected consequences.

3. This wasn’t just a spat between 2 teenage girls. This was an ongoing attempt by an adult to manipulate the emotional state of a child. If Lori was male, you can be damn sure that pedophile charges would be raised, for some reason her gender seems to exclude her from that.

These are the issues. God only knows how Megan would have felt. She was already clinically depressed (read: existing suicide risk) and was manipulated into believing that someone outside of her family actually gave a damn about her. When the “boy” did a complete 180 and started calling her worthless, etc., that would have made her world crumble, she snapped and the stress combined with her pre-existing condition caused her to kill herself.

Lori Drew was an adult, not a hormonal teenager. She should have both recognised that not only was this kind of harrassment totally unacceptable in any moral sense, but that by attacking a girl she knew was clinically depressed that she was playing with fire. Either she was too dumb to notice the danger in her actions, or she didn’t care about the pain she would inflict. She deserves to be punished for that.

“If the child’s parents had been monitoring the child’s internet activities more closely perhaps this tragedy might have been averted.”

Yeah because 24/7 surveillance on your teenage daughter would help build a happy home and trusting environment. Idiot.

From what I’ve seen, Megan’s parents did what they could to control their daughter’s online access. She bypassed their efforts and managed to do some things behind their backs. No teenager, ever, in the history of the world has not done something like that. If you think it’s possible to control a teenager like that, you are a fool.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Where do we draw the line?

1. Megan was *clinically depressed*, for which she was taking medication and being treated by a psychiatrist.

just for the fun of it, I’m going to apply the same kind of un-nuanced reasoning a lot of people here, fueled by emotion, seem to display: if an online argument with an online “(boy)friend” results in suicide, we should blame the medication and psychiatrist, since they obviously did not do anything at all to soften or help Megan’s condition

2. Lori Drew and her daughter *knew this*! She wasn’t picking on a random kid, but her daughter’s former best friend. It should have been clear that playing with Megan’s emotions in this way could have severe and unexpected consequences.

Fact check: Lori (and the two teenagers involved)’s plan was to befriend Megan so they could possibly get information about what Megan was telling friends about Lori’s daughter. Now you can argue all you want that that is immoral, that an adult should know better, etc… but this could very well be done without “playing with Megan’s emotions”, so you’re rather skipping a couple of steps in making that statement.

3. This wasn’t just a spat between 2 teenage girls. This was an ongoing attempt by an adult to manipulate the emotional state of a child. If Lori was male, you can be damn sure that pedophile charges would be raised, for some reason her gender seems to exclude her from that.

This is not just for you, the same goes for plenty of other people in this comment section, as the world at large: at least get the (available) facts straight. Using bogus statements (which are unchecked at best, or just plain wrong (or even lies)) not only weaken your argument intellectually, but make your argument sound emotion driven and that in and by itself forfeits your opinion from having any value. Although Drew was aware and involved, most of the communication between the boy and Megan, and in particular the “…better off…” comment were NOT Lori’s

She should have both recognised that not only was this kind of harrassment totally unacceptable in any moral sense, but that by attacking a girl she knew was clinically depressed that she was playing with fire.

Again, befriending a girl online, although it may be amoral, does not constitute harassment. In fact, if we could have asked Megan seconds before she killed herself, she might have said she felt hurt, etc…, but not harassed. So you people stop calling it harassment, just because there are harassment laws doesn’t mean you can use them in every situation. This was in no way harassment.

“If the child’s parents had been monitoring the child’s internet activities more closely perhaps this tragedy might have been averted.”

Yeah because 24/7 surveillance on your teenage daughter would help build a happy home and trusting environment. Idiot.

She was already clinically depressed (read: existing suicide risk)

Megan’s parents did what they could to control their daughter’s online access.

First off, no they didn’t everything they could to control their daughter’s online access, they could have password protected the computer(s) and only allowed her online access when supervised (not necessarily looking over her shoulder every second) or just removed the computer out of the equation altogether. Installed a key logger, etc… In short, there are plenty of things they could have done

Secondly, yeah, the best strategy as a parent when you have a clinically depressed child (read existing suicide risk) is to let her have unsupervised access to the big bad of the world wide web. Heck, even a “healthy” child shouldn’t have that, remember those real online sexual predators you guys so gladly try to make Lori out to be?

And last but not least: if I have a child that is clinically depressed and a suicide risk, I would make damn sure that I have (as close as possible to) 24/7 surveillance, especially when that child is entering the already by itself very emotionally taxing and high turmoil period of puberty

Mike Gambol says:

Tina is no "Mother of the Year"

First, I feel very badly for the girl in this matter. Teen years can be very painful for some, especially for girls under heavy AMERICAN PRESSURE to look like “Us” and “Cosmo” models. If an American girl doesn’t look like Angelina Jolie or some Hollywood slut / nut, she’s in a world of crap… Computers can put that pressure right in your face. This pood kid was the victim of SEVERAL people’s ignorance, stupidity, and selfishness.

Having said that… where were Mom and Dad for this girl?!? Where’s the possible criminal charges against THEM for being lazy parents? THEY knew better than ANYONE that their daughter had long-term emotional issues and IMPROPERLY ALLOWED, KNOWINGLY ALLOWED the girl to ignore the MySpace Terms of Service.

Snooty, rule-ignoring snobs often feel that Rules don’t apply to them. Nice going Mom and Dad! NOW… who will you place your irresponsibility on? Let’s see!

In this news story, there’s plenty of blame for MORE than just the teen ex-friend down the street, that girl’s mother and the brain-dead guy employee who joined the mother and daughter in this tragedy.

Here’s my own personal opinion of the spoken “unspoken” story behind the story…

>>> The girl’s “mother” admits “She technically wasn’t old enough, because you have to be 14,” Tina Meier said. “But I was the only one who knew the password. I read every message she received or sent.”

That’s a LIE! First she admits to allowing her MINOR child to break rules which she, as an adult, clearly knows and understands and then the tries to cover herself by lying about WATCHING EVERY MESSAGE!

>>> “I thought I could keep it safe, and Megan could meet some friends.”

Yeah.. she THOUGHT! Look what her “smart thinking” led to!

>>> “Tina knew firsthand. Megan and the girl down the block, the former friend, once had created a fake MySpace account, using the photo of a good-looking girl as a way to talk to boys online, Tina says. When Tina found out, she ended Megan’s access.”

Closing the barn door after the horse is out? But, really, DID she end Megan’s access? Read on…

>>> “Are you joking?” Tina asks. “There are fifth-grade girls who have MySpace accounts.”

Great, Mom! Great excuse for you being a miserable SLACKER of a “mother.” “The other kids have them, why shouldn’t mine?”

>>> “As for sexual content, Tina says, most parents have no clue how much there is. And Megan wasn’t 14 when she opened her account.”

“mom” not only KNOWS that her daughter is violating the rules by hanging out in a web site she’s too young to be on, but “mom” ALSO knows that the web site has a lot of sexual content! This “mom” should be prosecuted right along with all of the other adults involved in the sad story. This woman is to “Motherhood” what Jeffrey Dahmer was to “fine dining”.

>>> “As Megan’s 14th birthday approached, she pleaded for her mom to give her another chance on MySpace, and Tina relented.”

What happened to that “she ended Megan’s access”…? Is “mom” BRAIN DEAD??? The FIRST screw up wasn’t enough of a lesson? MEMO: her daughter STILL wasn’t old enough and “mom” was STILL teaching Megan that it’s OK to break the Rules!

>>> “Tina signed on, but she was in a hurry.”

No surprise there! Ms. Cosmo has places to go! Things to do! My goodness, she’s just SOooo busy!!!

>>> “Before Tina could get out the door it was clear Megan was upset.”

“CLEARLY UPSET”…! But, what’s “mom’s” decision? Be a mother, spend time talking with her child, find out what’s wrong, and oversee her child’s known improper activities? Ask he if she’s upset because perhaps an adult male had spotted the minor female on a web site she was too young to be on and had posted the kind of sexual content that “mom” was well aware of? Nope! Not today! TOO BUSY today! Not enough time for Megan today!

>>> “Tina recalled telling Megan to sign off.”

She OBVIOUSLY didn’t even LOOK TO SEE if she was logged off! It would have taken, what? Two minutes??? THREE? I’ve seen HAMSTERS that were better mothers!

>>> “I will Mom,” Megan said. “Let me finish up.” Tina was pressed for time. She had to go.”

Oh! Yes! She just HAD to go! Her life is just SOoo busy and oh SOoo important she just COULDN’T play the part of a Mother! No time! Not her fault! Just SOoo much she had to do! You understand, right? Not her fault! Just really, really, really busy! No time! Had to go!

“You are not listening to me, Megan! Sign off, now!”

HIT THE “POWER” BUTTON, “mom”!!! This is a very feeble attempt to cast blame on her own MINOR CHILD!! At this point, she’s already partially responsible for her own daughters death.

>>> “Once Tina returned home she rushed into the basement where the computer was. Tina was shocked at the vulgar language her daughter was firing back at people.”

Shocked?! More lies. She’s already admitted that she KNEW the type of “content” she was exposing her minor child to, all the while KNOWING the age rule was being violated. Also, if she’d shut off the Power before running off on her busy schedule, her daughter just MIGHT not have been sitting at the computer the whole time “mom” was out running around!

>>> “Tina, twenty minutes later, “I had this God-awful feeling and I ran up into her room and she had hung herself in the closet.”

You left your mentally and emotionally disturbed child who was OBVIOUSLY in a TERRIBLY state of mind… ALONE?!? FOR TWENTY MINUTES?!? You didn’t sit with her? Console her?! Council her?! NOTHING? For twenty MINUTES! Are YOU NUTS!?! Not, not nuts, just self-centered and callous.

>>> “Tina and Ron Meier, are now separated and plan to divorce.”

No KIDDING!? Well, at least the dad has enough sense to see what a piece of crap that nit-wit is as a mother; contributing to the death of his daughter. He knows what many thinking people know.

>>> “Adolescents take what is said online as the literal truth,” said Justin Patchin, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire…”

It doesn’t take a “Professor” to know that your kid’s in terrible emotional stress. Tina KNEW the age limit. Tina KNEW her little girl was becoming romantically involved ON-LINE with what they thought was a boy, yet Tina LEFT THE HOUSE KNOWING her girl was distraught!

Now, here’s the real kick in the rear…

>>> “Dardenne Prairie, Mo., Meier’s hometown, has since passed a law making online harassment a misdemeanor.”

Well, there it is! The inevitable NEW LAW which places “mom’s” responsibilities on EVERYONE ELSE! It’s not MOM’S fault that she’s got the parental skills of a tree frog! It’s SOCIETY’S fault! Now, WE’RE responsible for her non-existing parenting “skills”! Blame Society! Blame MySpace! Blame EVERYONE! Let’s hide “mom’s” pathetic mothering skills behind a NEW LAW!

But for God’s sake … don’t blame that stupid twit for being a MAJOR part of the taking of her own daughter’s all too short life…

“I did everything I could do to protect Megan”

What a lying, self-serving piece of dung this woman is. This completely disgusts me. She did nothing to “protect” her daughter that day. In fact, SHE DIRECTLY HELPED to EXPOSE Megan to that stuff! Only a FOOL would believe these self-serving lies!

“mom” Tina said in nationally televised News “Parents should know what their kids are doing on a computer.”

Right, Tina! Just like YOU did, right?! Oh, sorry, you DID know what your child was doing on the computer, didn’t you!? YES! But you were just tooooo busy being a trash heap of a “mother” to actually DO anything about it! You had PLENTY of opportunity to “protect” that little girl and you BLEW every chance! And now you KNOW it and you are desperate to get rid of the burden of guilt you will bear for the rest of your miserable life.

She can hide behind that “Oh look at me, the distraught Mother” facade, but anyone who has really looked into the police report made BEFORE she became a TV actor, will see CLEARLY that she never DESERVED a child like Megan. I hope her attorney coaches her really carefully before her deposition is taken and the Nation gets to see exactly how badly this woman behaved as a “mother.”

Tina is just as guilty as the other half-wits that participated in this fatal disaster. Don’t let that “oh so innocent wounded victim” crap fool you.

paul (user link) says:

Companies who use unauthorized access to customers computers

I have a question why is it that the government allows companies like spy on their users and access their computers without permission and when they finish shut down their systems. Isn’t this against the law? I could understand if they are suspected of being a terrorist but the average users. I would like to know if there is some recourse we could take against and AVM software.

Here are the commands they use.

mon 2345678 on room raiding
mon 2345678 off
Allows you to monitor EVERYTHING a user does.
This is an extremely invasive function and should
NEVER be used to monitor any PalTalk staff with
the exception of help or support people who are
suspected of extreme misconduct.

NEVER type into a monitor window unless you
want to chat with them as this window is an ACTIVE
chat window. If you do this by accident, a quick ‘oops
sorry, wrong person’ usually gets you out of it without

NEVER let a user know that you can see what they are
doing, or say ‘I saw what you just did’. This is absolutely
imperative as the perception of privacy is critical to the
success or failure of PalTalk.

NEVER paste incriminating private text back to a user
as justification for taking action against them.

This feature is used strictly to verify that a user is indeed
guilty of accusations made against them. You will no doubt
find that a large percentage of accusations are proven false.

ALL communications done by a user are displayed
in this window. This includes conversations with us!
If you have a person on monitor, and they are in
communication with another person on the admin
team, please let the admin know privately that you
are seeing their conversation. This is common
courtesy to your team members…..

Monitored actions include…….

Private messages between this user and ANY other user.
The act of listing groups in the group list window.
The initiation and acceptance of file transfers.
The initiation and acceptance of one to one calls.
The initiation and acceptance of video sessions.
Joining a group.
Leaving a group.

Anonymous Coward says:

Criminal Neglect

This is so weird. I am from the Caribbean. I look at US television sometimes and have to shake my head. It’s ridiculous. US youth culture is ridiculous. You seem to give YOUNG people the false sense that they are adults. I was never mentally ill, but nevertheless I doubt I could have a complete relationship online without my parents knowing. When I was 13 they always had a VERY active part to play in my life. That was called parenting. I could only imagine how intense that “active” participation in my life at that age would have been if I was mentally ill.

I am not excusing the actions of the “criminal” adult here, but please! you want to tell me that a parent let her “mentally” unstable daughter have free access to a world of pedophiles and other unsavory individuals and didn’t have a clue as to what was going on? Then failing at their responsibilities, want to throw all blame at the other parties involved? Come on man!

The only people that should be prosecuted in this case with a REAL law are the dead girl’s parents, for criminal neglect. Because I am pretty certain that this girl would have reacted the same way to any sort of emotional challenges that young people confront as a part of growing up.

Stephen Cook says:

new crime calls for new law

Lori Drew got less than she had coming. Whatever they had to do to nail her, I hope it all sticks. Just because we find new ways to trespass against our fellow man, that don’t fit the current laws, does that make it excusable? I hope the family and good council find a way to charge her in a civil suit as they did with OJ.

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