Scary! Predators & Cyberpaths Next Door! The Power of Deception Online! When Megan Meier Meet Josh Evans she had no idea who was lurking behind the mask?
November '08: U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien told jurors that Lori Drew helped create a false identity on the social networking site MySpace. Drew opened the MySpace account and "fully intended to hurt and prey on Megan's psyche," O'Brien told jurors. Drew is accused of harassing Megan with cruel messages, which ultimately led her to take her life in 2006.
Megan Meier, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with the 'boy', called Josh, for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship. Megan thought she had met a good-looking 16-year-old boy on the Net.
He told her he had heard she was cruel and called her a 'liar and slut'.
She became depressed and hanged herself the day after her online friendship ended.
But what the young girl did not know was that Josh did not exist.
He was created by adults - parents of a classmate of hers - who lived just down the street from her home in a St Louis, Missouri suburb.
The woman who created the fake profile has now been charged with a crime. Thanks for your comments on Megan Meier. She was indicted May 2008 and faces up to 20 YEARS in prison on charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers to obtain information to inflict emotional distress.
She allegedly said she created Josh's profile because she wanted to gain Megan's confidence.
The reason? To find out what Megan was saying about her own child online.
She told police that she, her daughter and another person all typed and monitored the communication between the fictitious boy and Megan.
Drew lured Megan in a way she knew would be most devastating to the child. Because Ms. Drew had taken Megan on family vacations, she knew the girl had been prescribed antidepression medication, Ms. Meier said. She also knew that Megan had a MySpace page. Ms. Drew had told a girl across the street about the hoax, said the girl's mother, who requested anonymity to protect her daughter, a minor.
"Lori laughed about it," the mother said, adding that Ms. Drew and Ms. Drew's daughter "said they were going to mess with Megan."
The Drews have been besieged with negative publicity, and Meier's death prompted her hometown of Dardenne Prairie to adopt a law engaging in Internet harassment a misdemeanor.
A blog entitled "Megan Had It Coming" the person writing the blog claimed the messages were being written by Lori Drew.
In a bizzare twist the law created because of the Drew's actions may be used to help prevent harassment against the Drews!
Drew pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress, in federal Court in June 2008.
She is free on $20,000 bond.
Experts have said the case could break new ground in Internet law. The statute used to indict Drew usually applies to Internet hackers who illegally access accounts to get information.
A federal judge tentatively rejected two motions on Thursday to dismiss charges against a woman in a MySpace hoax that allegedly led to a 13-year-old girl's suicide.
Prosecutors characterize the case as the nation's first cyber-bullying case, and the results from it could set legal precedents regarding online harassment.
The case is being prosecuted in Los Angeles because MySpace's computer servers are in the area.