Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Groundbreaking MySpace Bullying Case Result

Groundbreaking MySpace Bullying Case Result
LawFuel - The Law Jobs and News Wire
A law designed to prevent cyberhacking has been used to prevent cyberbullying

A suburban mother was found guilty today of lesser misdemeanor charges for her role in an online hoax that prosecutors said led to the suicide of her teenage neighbor.

Lori Drew, 49, was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access to computers in a case that drew nationwide attention both for its novel use of a computer hacking law to combat alleged cyberbullying and for its tales of suburban neighborhood rivalries and teenage suicide.

The jury could not reach a verdict on a single felony conspiracy charge. Drew, who lives in a suburb of St. Louis, was acquitted of several felony counts of unauthorized access to computers to inflict emotional distress on 13-year-old Megan Meier.

Drew faces a possible sentence ranging from probation to three years in prison for the misdemeanor charges. She could have faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony charges.

Megan Meier committed suicide in October 2006 after the end of her online relationship with a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans. "Josh Evans"was the fictitious creation of Drew, her daughter and her assistant, who created the fake MySpace account to spy on Megan, prosecutors said.

Legally, as Drew's lawyer Dean Steward repeatedly reminded the jury, the case was not about whether Drew caused Megan to commit suicide. Instead, Drew was accused of violating MySpace's terms of service by obtaining personal information to inflict emotional distress on the teen.

But the emotional pull, and much of the testimony in the trial in federal court in Los Angeles, centered on the suicide. "The tragedy in this case is not just Megan Meier's suicide. It's the fact that it was so preventable,"U.S.attorney Thomas O'Brien said in his closing statement.

Megan killed herself after "Josh" told her the world would be better off without her, prosecutors said. The assistant, 20-year-old Ashley Grills, testified under a grant of immunity that she was the one who sent the final message. Drew's daughter Sarah was also not charged.

Sarah told jurors her mother thought inventing "Josh" was a good idea but changed her mind two weeks later and told Grills to shut it down. But Grills testified that Drew orchestrated the hoax and knew Megan was depressed and suicidal. Prosecutors also said Drew later bragged about the prank to her friends and co-workers.

Steward has said that Drew did not encourage or participate in the hoax and was not aware of the mean messages being sent to Megan. He repeatedly asked U.S. District Judge George Wu to exclude testimony about Megan's suicide and twice sought a mistrial.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Snail's Pace: Aucklanders Face Frustrating Commute Over Harbour Bridge

Journeys into Auckland's CBD took longer than usual as traffic banked up around the damaged Harbour Bridge. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>

ALSO:

MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>

ALSO:


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>

ALSO:


Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>

ALSO:

NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>

ALSO:

SAFE: Live Export Ship Carrying 5,800 New Zealand Cows Goes Missing In East China Sea

Livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress signal at 4:45am NZT yesterday in the East China Sea. The area is affected by Typhoon Maysak. At 4pm a patrol plane spotted a lifeboat - with no people in it - and a man in lifejacket nearby. The ship ... More>>

ALSO:

FMA: Kiwisaver Fees Don't Match Performance

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today published an independent report into the passive and active investment management styles [i] used by KiwiSaver providers. The FMA commissioned MyFiduciary to test the extent that KiwiSaver providers were ... More>>