Indictment in Megan Meier case

Lori Drew, the mother who allegedly helped create a fictitious MySpace profile that led to 13-year-old Megan Meier's suicide has been indicted. She has been "charged with conspiracy and fraudulently gaining access to someone else's computer" by a federal grand jury. Drew and some of Megan's peers had set up the profile of a fictitious 16-year-old boy and, through it, developed a relationship between the "boy" and Megan, who her family said had been treated for attention deficit disorder and depression. The profile's creators carried on the "relationship" for months, then faked the "boy's" breakup with Megan, leading to her suicide. Investigators in Missouri, where all this occurred, couldn't find a state law to apply to the case. Later, "federal prosecutors in Los Angeles launched a grand jury investigation … to determine whether Ms. Drew or others defrauded Beverly Hills-based MySpace by providing false information to the site," the Associated Press reports, describing an unprecedented way of applying the law ("both Megan and MySpace are named as victims in the case, U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien" told the AP). This is an approach to watch going forward, because in effect it adds "teeth" to social-networking sites' terms of service, which both parents and teens need to be aware of and which sites need to enforce. where the social Web's concerned. [Earlier coverage: "Extreme cyberbullying: US case comes to light" and "Missouri cyberbullying: Case not closed."]

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