By Jackie Burrell
Thursday, May 15th, 2008 at 3:22 pm in Technology & Video Games.
Remember the horrifying case of the Missouri mom who used MySpace to bully a 13-year-old neighbor to death? Young Megan Meier hanged herself in October 2006, after a 16-year-old boy she’d gotten close to online began sending her cruel and hateful messages, including one that suggested the world would be a better place if she were dead. But the “boy” never existed. He was an elaborate MySpace hoax, says the FBI, dreamed up by a group that included Lori Drew, the mother of a former friend of Megan’s, and Drew’s underage employee.
At the time of the suicide, Lori Drew earned national condemnation for her role in tormenting, harassing and hounding a child to death, but she was never arrested because she’d broken no state laws. The feds, however, saw it differently. This morning, a federal grand jury indicted Drew. She’s being charged with conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers, under a federal statute designed to ward off hackers, but which has never been used in a social networking case until now. The FBI says Drew gathered unauthorized information in direct violation of MySpace’s membership rules, and used that information to torment, harass and humiliate a juvenile. Both Megan and MySpace are named as victims in the case.
If convicted, Drew and her fellow conspirators face up to 20 years in prison.
And all we can say is, about bloody well time. Innocent until proven guilty, yeah, yeah, but one of those co-conspirators, Drew’s now-19-year-old employee, went on “Good Morning, America” last month and described Drew’s instigation of the scheme and her involvement in writing those messages. Drew may not have intended to bully a child to death, but at age 47, surely she knew the difference between right and wrong. Click “comments” and share your thoughts.