MySpace user indicted in suicide of hoax victim, 13

May 16, 2008|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- A federal grand jury indicted a woman yesterday on charges of fraudulently using a MySpace account to "cyber-bully" a Missouri teenager who later hanged herself because she believed she was being rejected by a 16-year-old boy she met on the social networking Web site.

Lori Drew, 49, of O'Fallon, Mo., faces three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress and one count of conspiracy.

The case set off a furor when it was revealed that Megan Meier, 13, was the victim of a hoax perpetrated by Drew, who was the mother of one of the girl's former friends.

Authorities in Missouri investigated Meier's death in October 2006 but declined to file charges against Drew, saying they were unable to find a statute under which to pursue a criminal case.

This year, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles launched a grand jury investigation aimed at determining whether Drew or others defrauded MySpace by providing false information to the site.

Drew's attorney, H. Dean Steward, suggested that prosecutors in Los Angeles were overstepping their jurisdiction.

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