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Woman who drove teenage girl to suicide indicted

Lori Drew is a sick, sick woman.  I mean, there is something seriously wrong with her.  At 49 years old, she took on the persona of a 16 year old boy she named Josh Evans. She created a My Space page in his name for the purpose of tormenting Megan Meier, a 13 year old girl who had a falling out with her own daughter. Lori got Megan to fall for the nonexistent "Josh" and then cut off the relationship with Megan after she had become emotionally attached to him. After the breakup, "Josh" told Megan the world would be better off without her.  Shortly thereafter, Megan hanged herself in her closet. Here's the story from Reuters:

A 49-year-old Missouri woman accused of pretending to be a love-struck teenage boy on MySpace and driving a 13-year-old girl to suicide with cruel messages was indicted on Thursday on federal charges.

Prosecutors say Lori Drew and others created the fake MySpace persona of a 16-year-old boy to woo neighbor Megan Meier for several weeks, then abruptly ended the relationship and said the world would be better off without her.

Meier's 2006 suicide by hanging, just hours after she read those final messages, made worldwide headlines and prompted calls for social networking sites like MySpace to crack down on cyber-bullying.

"This adult woman allegedly used the Internet to target a young teenage girl, with horrendous ramifications," U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien said in announcing the indictment in Los Angeles, where MySpace is based.

"Any adult who uses the Internet or a social gathering Web site to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realize that their actions can have serious consequences," O'Brien said.

As far as I'm concerned Lori Drew should not be able live a peaceful or anonymous life ever again. She should be reminded of what she did every single day for the rest of her life: she tormented an innocent teenage girl so badly that she drove her to suicide just because of a spat she had with her daughter.  I sincerely hope she gets the maximum time in prison for this, not just because it's an adequate punishment for her actions, but because this woman is obviously so disturbed that she's a menace and needs to be separated from society.  What kind of an adult (and a parent for God's sake!) actually says to her kid when she has a falling out with her friend, "Hey, I have an idea..." and then proceeds to torment this innocent young girl? 

So who is this Lori Drew? Here's a picture:

Lori_drew_myspace_suicide_2

And how did Lori react when she found out Megan killed herself because of what she did? Again from Reuters:

The indictment charges that after Meier killed herself, Drew had the phony MySpace account deleted and warned a girl who knew about it that she should "keep her mouth shut."

You stay classy, Lori Drew.  I'd say the world would be better off without the likes of her.

Cross-posted at Up North Mommy


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Comments (25)

a jerk, someone to hold in ... (Below threshold)

a jerk, someone to hold in contempt, sure. But she's not someone who should be held criminally responsible for the girl's death.

(I'm presuming and am willing to revise this if proven wrong)... She didn't know or suspect that this girl was suicidal, her actions (the messages, and not impersonating a teenager, as that was unknown at the time) were not such that she (or anyone) ought to have expected the girl to respond in such a way, there were likely many other factors that contributed to the girl being in such sad mental shape that she took her own life, and any alleged violation of the user agreement ought to be between her and MySpace.

It turns out that Lori Drew... (Below threshold)

It turns out that Lori Drew also had to shutter her mail order advertisement business due to the negative publicity. And to that, I say "Good!"

Absolutely unbelievable and... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

Absolutely unbelievable and disgusting reply Sturm. What a heartless bastard!! Clearly you have no children and clearly you have failed to grasp that while you don't think the wretched and dismal person responsible for the death of an innocent young girl should pay a price for her successful harassment, the Federal authorities are of a different mind. After a lengthy and thorough investigation they, unlike you, have decided that a crime has been committed. I am utterly mystified that your callous mind is blind to what has occurred. Perhaps you should have done a bit of research into the circumstances before shooting off your mouth.

Steve Strum made a correct ... (Below threshold)

Steve Strum made a correct assessment in his comment... he doesn't know what he's talking about because the terrorist (the so called mother) knew the young girl well, they were neighbors! If he had been following the case he wouldn't be inclined to shoot his mouth off on something he knows nothing about. The old bitch should he hanged.

"She didn't know or suspect... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

"She didn't know or suspect that this girl was suicidal"

Do we know this? At a minimum she was in contact with the girl in what the girl believed was an intimate relationship. She may have easily gain insight towards her general state as well as her specific disposition right down to the end. Either from observation of the girl's comments or being told directly from the girl herself.

She then proceeds to tell her the world would be better off without her.

You could argue the intent was not to coerce her into committing suicide, but there was intent to do inflict mental anguish. And if a malicious act intended to do lesser harm leads to death, its sounds to be at least manslaughter.

Michael: nice inconsistency... (Below threshold)

Michael: nice inconsistency in telling me to research while presuming all sorts of things about me and my family situation. And having a heart doesn't mean ignoring what is right and wrong, but I'm sure that none of this matters to you, as you are on the side of the angels and anyone who disagrees with you is obviously a heartless b*****d with all sort of emotional issues. And I applaud your blind faith in the US Attorney who brought charges, can I presume you also were cheering on Mike Nifong, Spitzer and the other prosecutors who have brought unfounded and politically motivated prosecutions?

You claim Drew was responsible for the girl's death, so are you upset that Drew is only being charged with some technical computer related charges, that she isn't being charged with murder? Drew violated the terms of her Myspace account, that justifies her getting kicked off, not criminal charges.

This is grandstanding by a prosecutor who, upset at what happened, has gone and twisted the law in order to satisfy his need to do something.

Sturm's comments were speci... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Sturm's comments were specific to a particular issue. Criminal culpability. There is no call for MichaelC and Frank's comments about him.

people, people... her own m... (Below threshold)

people, people... her own mother didn't know she was suicidal (if she had, not taking action to prevent it was criminal), so how can you extend to Drew knowledge that the mother didn't even have? Did any of the girl's emails hint of suicidal tendencies? And, it's been a long time since I was a teen age girl, but being told that the world would be better off without you is generally known not to be taken liberally.

And while I'm not bothering to go through the archives, if I'm not mistaken (and if I am, I'll retract this specific reference), it wasn't Drew who made that particular comment but rather the teen age girl who was helping Drew.

It would be interesting to ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

It would be interesting to know what their conversations consisted of. It seems eerily too close to the same tactics employed by online pedophiles. Technically, it was an adult soliciting affection from a minor by impersonating another minor - the boyfriend/girlfriend type of affection. If there was any talk of sex, Ms. Drew could very well be criminally liable.

actually, I'm not too lazy,... (Below threshold)

actually, I'm not too lazy, Drew didn't write that particular comment, the teenager admitted she did. anyone want to retract their suggestions that I haven't been paying attention? Or is paying attention to the details of the case something you don't need to do so long as you're on the side of the angels?

It's about time.... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

It's about time.

<a href="http://volokh.com/... (Below threshold)
SPQR:
I think it's ridiculous, to... (Below threshold)
James:

I think it's ridiculous, to be honest. A breakup does NOT make someone commit suicide. There had to have been much more going on, and the child already depressed and close to suicide, for that to happen. Call me heartless if you want. And yes it was definitely messed up of someone to create a fake persona and lead the girl on, but to say a breakup and an insult lead to suicide is pretty crazy.

Well I know this is not wha... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Well I know this is not what people want to hear, but now that this is a Federal criminal case there needs to be proof of a number of things before there can be a conviction.

Drew denies she was even involved in most of the Josh fiction. The prosecution first needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was the only one responsible or at least mostly responsible for the Josh fiction. Once past that hurdle the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Drew's actions are the direct cause of Megan's suicide. Did Megan leave a suicide note saying that's why she was taking her life, did she leave such a message on MySpace, or tell a friend that's why she wanted to die? Coincidence is not sufficient to establish cause, otherwise every parent who grounds a kid shortly before the kid commits suicide would be guilty of this same crime, if there is such a crime.

The question the jury needs to be asked is if a 13 year-old girl is driven to suicide by breaking up with a 16 year-old boy should we lock up the boy? No because they are both kids, well then if a 16 year-old girl is driven to suicide by breaking up with an 18 year-old man should we lock up the young man? If breaking up is not considered the criminal cause of suicide in the real world why would it be considered so in the pretend world of MySpace?

The charge of accessing a protected computer to obtain information is more than a stretch. The only thing Drew broke was the MySpace usage agreement, which is a civil matter and one only MySpace has standing to pursue. If not using your real name and information on MySpace is a Federal crime then we are going to need to build many more Federal prisons.

I fact there are civilian organizations that perpetrate such frauds as being a young boy or girl on social sites like MySpace in order to catch pedophiles. If Drew is found guilty of a criminal offense for doing the same thing, then these other civilians are also committing a Federal crime and are subject to prosecution. The intended goal is irrelevant. As a civilian you can't go set up a meth lab in order to bring the distributors to justice without yourself being prosecuted. Only police can break the law to enforce the law, and that only goes so far.

James-"Call me heart... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

James-
"Call me heartless if you want."

Your comment isn't heartless as it is inaccurate. The suicide was not over a breakup. This woman used personal computers to get information about girl and continued with her abuse. She should have just deleted the profile instead of bringing heartache to a vulnerable young teen with verbal abuse tactics. Yes, Lori Drew is quite accountable.

I tried to wade through thi... (Below threshold)
John S:

I tried to wade through this story this morning and I can't seem to find any law that was broken. If a 13 year-old girl is driven to suicide by being flamed on the Internet, perhaps the 13-year old wasn't playing with a full deck of cards.

This is a waste of tax dollars. I assume the prosecutor is up for re-election.

I apologize to Steve Sturm ... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

I apologize to Steve Sturm for allowing my anger over what was a well publicized incident at the time to bubble over at this time in what I perceived as a callous attitude given the circumstances in the case. I came on too strong against somebody that I do not know and it is not ordinarily my way or intention to be ignorantly flaming people on the internet.

I should have just stated my position without getting personal, and I can see that my own long time knowledge of the events surrounding the death of Megan Meier and the national and international distribution of the story at the time influenced me to think that most people must have already heard about this tragic story. An assumption that is clearly incorrect.

I do not however feel too apologetic for taking to task anyone who feels they must rationalize away the responsibility that Lori Drew has in this situation. I am personally gratified that an arm of the law has found a basis to go after her, for she ought to be accountable for her actions against a mentally unstable juvenile. And, no Mr. Sturm, I am not "disappointed" that murder charges are not being brought. Lori Drew did not, after all, murder anyone. I am gratified that there are laws that apply in this case and that the FBI has taken a measured approach in investigating the incident and deciding that charges were appropriate. Quite different from the grandstanding of Mike Nifong. And really, considerably more serious than some Myspace violation. I'm afraid you may not, after all, have looked very deeply into the legal reasoning behind the investigation and the subsequent charges.

Lori Drew's action are not innocuous and do violate laws that can land her in jail. A federal grand jury indicted Lori Drew on one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress. Each count of the indictment carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. Whether one agrees or disagrees on the necessity for such laws, there they are and there she is, clearly over her head and liable by law.

Mr. Sturm and I may have different feelings on the matter which ordinarily would have been quite acceptable to me, but I, like many others, find myself strongly moved by the death of a young girl who was viciously prodded by a conniving adult who knew her and had some awareness of her instability, as Megan and her family lived only four houses away and Mrs. Drew's daughter was a schoolmate and friend of Megan.

Mr. Sturm, you pointed out that I made assumptions about your personal situation and then proceeded to outdo me in suppositions that certainly arose from your own murky, unknown depths. You were clearly within your rights to feel put upon by an uninformed stranger and I don't feel humiliated at all to be reminded of my own responsibility on a public message board, but don't you think you might have jumped the shark there with your own misguided accusations?

A federal grand ju... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
A federal grand jury indicted Lori Drew on one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress.

First, getting indited by a grand jury is meaningless as to the question of guilt. There's no defense lawyer involved in a grand jury indictment. It's all one sided. Second, the charge is accessing a protected computer to obtain information. The "to inflict emotional distress" bit is not in the law nor the indictment according to the press reports. Third, experts say the indictment is a stretch of the law. In other words a trumped up charge.

Forth, the law Drew is being charged with is accessing a protected computer to obtain information. If "protected" means nothing more than a usage agreement, then if this case is somehow successful, it will make it a Federal crime to access any publicly available web site to obtain any information if in using that information you violate the usage agreement of that web site. Such a violation has been a civil matter in the past usually resulting in being banned from that web site. In order to protect the freedom of the internet I hope this case is thrown out and the prosecutor fired to boot.

Finally, who knew Megan Meier was mentally unstable? If the mother didn't know then no one can expect Drew to have known. If Drew is convicted of a Federal crime for her part in this than I expect the State authorities will be compelled to charge the mother with criminal child endangerment. A Federal conviction would prove a crime had in fact been committed contrary to the State's prior ruling and the mother is certainly as responsible as Drew. The mother knowingly allowed her 13 year-old daughter to access often sexually explicit web sites like MySpace knowing she was mentally unstable.

Mac Lorry, like Mr. Sturm b... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

Mac Lorry, like Mr. Sturm before him, long on his own suppositions and short on one shred of concern for an innocent victim. I notice how some people in this thread have many of their own theories about who knew what , when, etc, but no mercy or concern at all for Megan other than baseless slander.

For my part, whatever the outcome in court, I find it satisfying that, at the least, Lori Drew and her manipulation of Megan will be publicly exposed and that she herself will finally have a bit of "emotional stress".

You folks who express no concern at all about an adult who can do such things can go pound sand and cry in your beer. Your attempts here to minimize her actions will not stop her day in court. I'm beginning to wonder what the hard hearts posting here are doing on their computers in their spare time.

Oh, and just to be clear I'm not hoping she hangs herself or anything like that.

MichaelC,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

MichaelC,

Mac Lorry, like Mr. Sturm before him, long on his own suppositions and short on one shred of concern for an innocent victim.

What innocent victim? Megan took her own life by her own hand and for her own reasons. Reason's YOU CANNOT KNOW. Bringing a Federal case that has implications for every user of the internet because of misguided emotions is foolish and dangerous.

For my part, whatever the outcome in court, I find it satisfying that, at the least, Lori Drew and her manipulation of Megan will be publicly exposed and that she herself will finally have a bit of "emotional stress".

Your whole motive in this has been one of revenge and blind hate. You care nothing for all the misery this reckless misapplication of law could cause millions of people using the internet. You're in no position to wonder about anyone else's heart.

Yes Lori Drew is having a bit of emotional stress because of this persecution, but I expect she'll get lots of legal support from those who see the danger this case poses to millions of internet users, and in the end she will stand vindicated. Think about that and go preach your hatred somewhere else.

And for those who think I'm... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

And for those who think I'm just making up the idea that this misguided prosecution is a threat to all internet users here's an article that goes into some depth about the subject.

Once the Lori Drew legal defense fund is set up I and many other will be sending in our contributions. I want to protect the free expression of ideas on the internet. How about you?

MichaelC, your comments are... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

MichaelC, your comments are really out to lunch. Just because someone sees no criminal conduct does not mean that they have no sympathy for the young woman who committed suicide. While your 9:06 am apology was in the right direction, you seem to have returned to ridiculous rhetoric.

sorry sturm. It is a sick t... (Below threshold)
william sewell:

sorry sturm. It is a sick thing and I would like a conversation with the women. I believe the women had plotted to upset the girl, not convince her to committe suicide. Manslaughter maybe, but thats only because the media is everywhere and the jury will have heard everything before the case even begins and when your talking 13 year old committing suicide, in front of a jury they will blame the women and convict her. I don't really care if it is right, I hope she does sit in jail.

I returned here after a spe... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

I returned here after a spell to see just where this thread had gone. Sigh.....the hard hearts with axes of their own to grind for some reason seemed very vindictive to my view that Lori Drew deserves what she gets.

And Mac Lorry, despite a bit of respect I have had for other viewpoints of yours that I have seen posted here at Wizbang, I have to tell you that you are acting like a total asshat with your wild accusations concerning my state of mind and reasoning here.

I expressed fairly clearly why it is my opinion that this woman is liable for what she has done, and you have just not been able to be anything but personally vindictive toward me. I seem to have struck some hidden thing inside you that is distorting your perceptions. Maybe you should have that looked at.


Spqr has his own problems which, like yours, have nothing to do with me. Again, something in yourself there S that you should realize is your own and not mine.

My side is winning gentlemen. Lori Drew is going before a jury. Too bad for her. Choosing, as an adult, to screw with a minor, she has run afoul of laws that at least have the power to stop her in her tracks and force her to contemplate what she has done. Some here would rather she not have to do that.

What a bizarre position to choose.

Adding one more thought to ... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

Adding one more thought to my post that will doubtlessly cause Mac and S to come unglued and continue their ridiculous and over the top accusations toward me: why don't you two go read up on this issue. It is clear to me the two of you have little knowledge of these events.

I have the feeling that, if you bother at all to return to this thread, you'll just bluster and spew that you're experts on the case.

But I know about this issue and you don't seem to see anything but some remote and theoretical personal freedom issue and you argue solely from that stance which has affected your ability to even deal with the original problem clearly.

This is not a free speech issue. Go learn something about what Lori Drew did and you will see that. Stop blaming me for your ignorance and do your homework before jumping in where you really show your shallow grasp of the underlying and insidious motivations in Lori Drew's actions.




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