Bullying Mom Gets Slap On The Wrist

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    Cyber-Bully Mom Guilty Of Lesser Charge

    LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26, 2008 (CBS/AP) A Missouri mother on trial in a landmark cyberbullying case was convicted Wednesday of misdemeanor computer charges instead of felonies in a cruel Internet hoax played on a 13-year-old girl who later committed suicide.

    The federal jury could not reach a verdict on a conspiracy charge against 49-year-old Lori Drew and rejected three other felony counts of accessing computers without authorization to inflict emotional harm on the girl.

    Instead, the panel convicted her of three lesser offenses of just accessing computers without authorization. Each of those counts is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Drew faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the four original counts.

    U.S. District Court Judge George Wu declared a mistrial on the conspiracy count. There was no quick decision on retrying the count.

    But prosecutors who argued that Drew's mean-spirited taunts led a teen girl to suicide didn't get the verdict they wanted, CBS News' John Blackstone reports. But legal experts say the government's use of anti-computer hacking laws seemed to stretch the law.

    "The jury is telling prosecutors 'You went too far,'" said CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen "Lori Drew may be guilty of doing bad things with a computer, but she certainly isn't guilty of a felony."

    Still Tina Meier, the mother of the young victim, says the verdict sends a message to other cyberbullies.

    "My hope is that, if nothing else, that this story gets out to other people and people think about what they do before they get on the Internet and start harassing other people," Meier said. "That has been my hope from the beginning."

    Drew did not show any visible emotion when the clerk read the verdicts. Her attorney, Dean Steward, said later that Drew was "puzzled" by the verdict and he had to explain the difference between felonies and misdemeanors to his client, who remained free on bond.

    "I don't have any satisfaction in the jury's decision," Steward said. "I don't think these charges should have ever been brought."

    Meier said afterward she believes Drew deserves the maximum three years in prison.

    "It's not about vengeance, it's about justice," she said.

    Most members of the six-man, six-woman jury left court without speaking to reporters. One juror, who would only identify himself by the first name, Marcilo, indicated jurors were not convinced Drew's actions involved the intent alleged by prosecutors.

    "Some of the jurors just felt strongly that it wasn't tortuous and everybody needed to stay with their feeling. That was really the balancing point," he said.

    The case hinged on an unprecedented - and, some legal experts say, highly questionable - application of computer-fraud law.

    Prosecutors said Drew and two others created a fictitious 16-year-old boy on MySpace and sent flirtatious messages from him to teenage neighbor Megan Meier. The "boy" then dumped Megan, saying, "The world would be a better place without you." Megan promptly hanged herself with a belt in her bedroom closet in October 2006.

    Prosecutors said Drew wanted to humiliate Megan for saying mean things about Drew's teenage daughter. They said Drew knew Megan suffered from depression and was emotionally fragile.

    "Lori Drew decided to humiliate a child," U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien, chief federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, had told the jury in his closing argument. "The only way she could harm this pretty little girl was with a computer. She chose to use a computer to hurt a little girl, and for four weeks she enjoyed it."

    O'Brien said it was the nation's first cyberbullying trial.

    After the verdict, O'Brien said the jury's decision sent a clear message and he was comfortable with it.

    "If you have children who are on the Internet and you are not watching what they are doing, you better be," he said.

    But some legal experts have suggested that O'Brien overreached and that a conviction might not stand up on appeal.

    Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan's death. Instead, prosecutors indicted her under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which in the past has been used in hacking and trademark theft cases.

    Among other things, Drew was charged with conspiring to violate the fine print in MySpace's terms-of-service agreement, which prohibits the use of phony names and harassment of other MySpace members.

    "The rules are fairly simple," federal prosecutor Mark Krause said. "You don't lie. You don't pretend to be someone else. You don't use the site to harass others. They harassed Megan Meier."

    Drew's lawyer, Steward, contended his client had little to do with the content of the messages and was not at home when the final one was sent. Steward also argued that nobody reads the fine print on service agreements.

    "How can you violate something when you haven't even read it?" Steward asked. "End of case."

    Prosecutors said Drew, her then-13-year-old daughter Sarah and Drew's 18-year-old business assistant Ashley Grills set up the phony MySpace profile for a boy named "Josh Evans," posting a photo of a bare-chested boy with tousled brown hair. "Josh" then told Megan she was "sexi" and assured her, "i love you so much."

    Grills allegedly sent the final, insulting message to Megan before she killed herself in the St. Louis suburb of Dardenne Prairie, Mo.

    The trial's outcome was a victory for prosecutors despite the lack of a felony conviction because they were able to prove the defendant violated the act, said Nick Akerman, a New York attorney who specializes in cases involving the federal computer act.

    "What you learned is that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is an extremely important tool in the federal arsenal against computer crime," he said.

    Missouri authorities said there was no state law under which Drew could be charged. But federal prosecutors in California claimed jurisdiction because MySpace is based in Beverly Hills.

    Among the prosecution's witnesses was Megan's mother, Tina, who recounted finding her daughter hanging in a closet. Prosecutors also called some of Drew's friends and associates, who painted the defendant as cold and indifferent about the prank and the suicide.

    Sarah Drew testified she never saw her mother use the MySpace account. But Grills, testifying under immunity from prosecution, said she saw Drew type at least one message under the name Josh Evans.

    After the suicide, Missouri passed a law against cyber-harassment. Similar federal legislation has been proposed on Capitol Hill.

    There was no immediate response to a call from The Associated Press seeking comment from MySpace officials on the verdict.

    A status conference on the Los Angeles case was set for Dec. 29.


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    The jury screwed up big time. She should have been found guilty of misdemeanor manslaughter.
     
  2. MASSIVEPKGO_CHUCK

    MASSIVEPKGO_CHUCK Well-Known Member

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    Goddamn amazing how something like that can get let off so easily like that.:puke:
     
  3. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    Awe, that poor girl didn't get justice.
     
  4. Cenya

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    YA MISSOURI IS FULL OF FREAKo's, so great to know i'm surrounded by them! lol

    For real though, if I get a chance I'll shoot that bitch when she gets back to town! lol
     
  5. Hellboy0

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    I think her life must be pretty fucked up anyway. She'll implode soon enough. It's too bad she was allowed to screw with some poor kid before she does.
     
  6. surferboy

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    that is so fucker up. she should be locked up for a minimum of 20, without parole. imo, she caused the suicide of a young girl, which, to me, is at least 2nd degree murder. fuckin bullshit jury. i hope someone publishes where this bitch lives and she gets protested and bullied to the point she knows what the poor girl must have felt. i hope she moves to florida so i can throw eggs or something at her.

    the 13 year old's parents must be so heart broken right now :frown1:
     
  7. Xcuze

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    Oh God, the Village lynch mob are out! Yeah u guys sound so reasonable. Shame u dont understand about legal matters. Listen, millions of people are insulted & bullied on line every day. They dont all go & kill themselves! Clearly this girl had other issues that made her more inclined to such a drastic act. How was this woman supposed to know about her state of mind & disposition? Sure, the womans a cruel bitch who wanted to upset the girl - but to start talking about Murder & Manslaughter is IMO a bit much.

    Im not sure what sentence she deserves but maybe a year locked up will teach her a lesson & also send out a message to other on-line bullies.
     
  8. surferboy

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    yes, i was acting hot headed and without thinking, and no, i wouldn't actually throw eggs at her. however, i think the verdict was totally bogus, and she does deserve 2nd degree murder or some kine manslaughter punishment where she gets at least 20 years without parole
     
  9. Jovial

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    Don't be so stupid. What if 16 year old "Josh Evans" actually did exist and sent all the emails and pictures and she ended up killing herself? Do you think Josh Evans should get 20 years? Millions of people get insulted all the time online and in real life. Most people don't kill themselves after being insulted.

    Many times you've had harsh words for members on LPSG. If one of them ended up killing themselves after reading something you wrote, do you think you should go to jail for 20 years? No! Because it's reasonable to think people won't kill themselves after reading something online. The same for the women in the trial.
     
  10. Principessa

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    But the point is he doesn't exist. Lori Drew created him for the sole purpose of tormenting Miss Meier. A 13 yr old girl who by all accounts, she knew suffered from depression. Her intent was malicious and intentional that is what makes her guilty.


    The difference is I never told anyone the world would be a better place without them. Stop playing 'what if' and deal with the facts.
    Ms. Drew wrote the following while pretending to be Josh.
    "The next day "Josh" wrote: "Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you.... The world would be a better place without you." Megan responded, "You're the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over," and then hanged herself in her bedroom closet."
     
  11. Sklar

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    I love the logic of this. If I sign up for a credit card and claim not to read the fine print, I don't have to pay the credit card company because even though it might say I have to pay it back, since I didn't read it, it doesn't exist and I don't owe them anything.

    To further elaborate, I can miss all the payments I want and not be charged a higher intrest rate because I never read it. There fore it doesn't exist and I don't have to follow the terms and conditions.

    I've never read the state constitution of Washington (where I now live) So I can do anything I want because I haven't read it and can't be held responsible because I didn't know what I was violating?

    That logic quoted above makes no sense to me.

    Sklar
     
  12. Principessa

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    Of couse it doesn't make sense it's a fine example of idiocy. Anyone who has ever watched Law & Order knows that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law.
     
  13. surferboy

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    brah, the operative word is that most peoples don't kill themselves when they're teased. however, when a kid does kill himself because he's bullied, the bully does get charged with manslaughter.

    but here's the kicker. as njgt pointed out, this kid was created for the sole purpose of making that poor girl feel like shit. this character was created by a grown woman, an adult who should fucking know better than for mentally abuse a 13 year old. i'm sorry, but i fully believe that this woman should be found guilty of manslaghter, or even some kine murder charge! this was premeditated. did this sorry excuse of a person know the girl would kill herself? no. however, this sad excuse for a human being created a character just to torment (note how i didn't say tease) this 13 year old girl. this woman is an adult. an adult who should fucking know better. why the hell is the judge and jury being so flippant?

    i, personally, believe the family of the 13 year old girl has not received any kine justice. the system has failed them, sadly. i hope that the family of the 13 year old girl appeals this decision. i also think they should bring that bitch to civil court. i believe that this sack of shit named lori should pay every penny of the funeral bill. and i believe that lori should pay a very large amount of money to the family of the little girl. then she shold be forced for rot in jail for the next 20 years without any kine chance for parole

    and yes, i'm mostly thinking with my emotions in this post. but it's disgusting how the justice system failed the family of that poor little girl.


    EDIT: had to fix the quote tags haha
     
  14. D_Hyacinth Harrytwat

    D_Hyacinth Harrytwat Account Disabled

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    You know, I agree that she's a piece of shit and all, but I laugh whenever someone points out that adults should be responsible. We don't just get smart when we turn 18 and mature/considerate when we breed.

    She's a mother as well though - to lock her up for 20 years would really screw up her family too. Surely there's another punishment for what she did that doesn't involve destroying her family too? What if she's a single mom?
     
  15. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

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    Her breeding privileges should be revoked permanently
     
  16. surferboy

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    auntie, i full on agree that turning 18 doesn't magically make you mature. but this wahine is 49. there's just no excuse. and yes, she has a family too. but by the logic that locking her up for 20 years would hurt her family, anyone with a family shouldn't be locked up because it destroy their family. i don't think that the fact that this sack of shit has a family should excuse her for what she's done.
     
  17. Principessa

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    She's not a single mom
    If you can't do the time, don't do the crime
    Why should we care about her family when she doesn't care about anyone else's family. As was demonstrated by her malicious actions. :mad:

    If only it were that easy. :rolleyes:

    Exactly, clearly Super Crayon doesn't know how many parents are in prison. :lmao: Having a family is not a "Get out of jail free card."

    I agree. If she valued family so much then she shouldn't have messed with someone elses.
     
  18. D_Hyacinth Harrytwat

    D_Hyacinth Harrytwat Account Disabled

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    Mothers are known for looking out for their family first. Yes she's an idiot for setting that kind of example for her daughter and showing her how to get revenge, but isn't it funny how we let our opinions and emotions keep us from seeing what is right and just? Bullying a girl online doesn't mean that she doesn't care about anyone else's family. Did you talk to her and ask her if she cares about any other families?

    No, I don't know an exact figure. Do you? Can I say "a lot" and be right?

    You know? I agree too. I've just read White Oleander (about a mother who goes to jail and her daughter who ends up in foster homes, for anyone who hasn't read it) and I was raising some questions for debate, like what could we do to punish parents instead of breaking up a family?
     
  19. Ed69

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    How about punishment instead of confinement?I bet the the pain,scars and embarassment of a public flogging would make an impression on everyone.And make her sleep nude,so every night she has to expose her guilt to her husband.A small reminder that she contributed to the death of someones child.
     
  20. surferboy

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    wahine, she drove a 13 year old girl for kill herself. i don't understand why you think that, because this woman has a family, she shouldn't be in jail, or have any kine punishment for what she has done



    this is beyond bad example wahine. clearly this woman was not looking out for her family when she did what she did, as she was not considering the consequences. she did something wrong, and justice should be served.
     
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