Saturday, November 29, 2008

Guilty verdicts in MySpace girl's suicide

A Missouri mother engaged in an online fraud that drove a 13-year old girl to suicide was convicted in Los Angeles on federal misdemeanor charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Lori Drew was accused of violating the terms of service of a social networking site, MySpace, by creating a fictitious profile of a teen boy and creating postings, which she used to harass Megan Meier. The purpose of the fraud was to humiliate Megan for allegedly spreading gossip about Lori's daughter, Sarah.

Megan, who had a history of depression and suicidal impulses, received an e-mail message from Ms. Drew that said, “The world would be a better place without you.” Megan wrote back, “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over.” She then hanged herself with a belt in her bedroom closet.

Thomas P. O’Brien, the United States attorney in Los Angeles, prosecuted the case after law enforcement officials in Missouri determined Ms. Drew had broken no local laws. He based jurisdiction of the case on the fact that the MySpace computer servers are housed in Los Angeles.

See, "Woman Convicted of Minor Offenses in MySpace Hoax," Wall St. Journal, November 26, 2008, at; "Verdict in MySpace Suicide Case," New York Times, November 26, 2008, at;; "Jurors Wanted to Convict Lori Drew of Felonies but Were Stymied by Prosecutors," Wired Blog Network, December 1, 2008, at

1 comment:

JR Cyberlaw said...

Federal judge George H. Wu threw out the conviction of Lori Drew, who was convicted by jury of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Actfor her role in creating a false MySpace account that led to the suicide of a teenage girl.

The judge said that the federal statute was too “vague,” and that “one could literally prosecute anyone who violates a terms of service agreement” in any way.

See, "Judge Throws Out Conviction in Cyberbullying Case," New York Times, July 2, 2009, at