A Missouri mother has been indicted on federal charges for helping set up a MySpace hoax that led to a 13-year-old girl’s suicide. Lori Drew, 49, of suburban St. Louis allegedly wanted to know what Megan Meier was saying about Drew’s daughter, a former friend. She was charged with conspiracy and fraudulently gaining access to someone else’s computer.
The indictment says MySpace members agree to abide by terms of service that include, among other things, not promoting information they know to be false or misleading; soliciting personal information from anyone under age 18 and not using information gathered from the Web site to ”harass, abuse or harm other people.”
Drew and others who were not named conspired to violate the service terms from about September 2006 to mid-October that year, according to the indictment. It alleges they registered as a MySpace member under a phony name and used the account to obtain information on the girl.
Drew and her coconspirators ”used the information obtained over the MySpace computer system to torment, harass, humiliate, and embarrass the juvenile MySpace member,” the indictment charged.
The indictment contends they committed or aided in a dozen ”overt acts” that were illegal, including using a photograph of a boy that was posted without his knowledge or permission.
They used ”Josh” to flirt with Megan, telling her she was ”sexi,” the indictment charged.
Legally, it sounds like a stretch. A teenage girl who worked for Drew has admitted she set up the MySpace account and sent the message telling Meier the world would be better off without her. But Drew will make the world’s least sympathetic defendant.