Friday, May 16, 2008

Threat Level: Lori Drew Indicted in MySpace Suicide Case

From Threat Level - Wired Blogs:

By Kim Zetter EmailMay 15, 2008 | 2:01:41 PM

A federal grand jury issued an indictment against a woman in Missouri
accused of creating a fake MySpace page to bully a 13-year-old girl.
The girl committed suicide as a result of the bullying.

Lori Drew was indicted this morning in Los Angeles on federal charges
for fraudulently using an account on MySpace. The indictment charges
Drew in four counts -- one count for conspiracy and three counts "for
accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain
information to inflict emotional distress," according to a press
release. The latter charge relates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The indictment
(.pdf) alleges that Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace's
terms of service, which require registrants to provide truthful
registration information and refrain from soliciting personal
information from anyone under 18 or using information obtained from
MySpace services to harass or harm other people, among other terms.

If convicted on all four counts, Drew could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

“This adult woman allegedly used the internet to target a young
teenage girl, with horrendous ramifications,” said United States
Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien. “After a thorough investigation, we
have charged Ms. Drew with criminally accessing MySpace and violating
rules established to protect young, vulnerable people. Any adult who
uses the internet or a social-gathering website to bully or harass
another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realize
that their actions can have serious consequences.”

Drew's co-conspirators include her daughter and another teenager,
Ashley Grills, who helped set up the MySpace account and sent comments
to Megan Meier that contributed to her suicide. It was reported earlier
this year that Grills was given immunity for her cooperation with the

When asked at a press conference what this might mean for other people
who engage in similar behavior, O'Brien responded that, "Anyone who
engages in harassment and violates the law similar to Ms. Drew is
subject to investigation and prosecution on the right facts."

O'Brien said that Drew will be allowed to surrender to authorities
and said he expected that would happen next month in St. Louis,

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