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Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case

 
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Darla
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Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« on: June 16, 2008, 05:22:06 PM »

http://www.usatoday.com/n...yspace-suicide-case_N.htm


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.....Experts have said the case could break new ground in Internet law. The statute used to indict Drew usually applies to Internet hackers who illegally access accounts to get information.

.......

Rebecca Lonergan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Southern California, has said use of the statute, known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, may be open to challenge.

Lonergan said the crimes covered by the law involve obtaining information from a computer, not sending messages out to harass someone.

"Here it is the flow of information away from the computer," she said. "It's a very creative, aggressive use of the statute. But they may have a legally tough time meeting the elements."

James Chadwick, a Palo Alto attorney who specializes in Internet and media law, said he has never seen the statute applied to the sending of messages.

He said it was probable that liability for the girl's death would not be an issue in the case. "As tragic as it is," he said, "You can't start imposing liability on people for being cruel."

Missouri police didn't file any charges against Drew in part because there was no applicable state law. In response to the case, Missouri legislators gave final approval to a bill making cyber harassment illegal.

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stroh
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 05:25:36 PM »

Man, I don't even know what to say.

Sad.
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Darla
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 05:33:11 PM »

That was my thought too! I can't imagine how her daughter is taking this (the women accused). Just wondering how horrible the kids in town are treating her. Also wonder if she had anything to do with the whole thing......
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MFAWG
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 06:20:46 PM »

That was my thought too! I can't imagine how her daughter is taking this (the women accused). Just wondering how horrible the kids in town are treating her. Also wonder if she had anything to do with the whole thing......

I'd imagine they're taking it better than the dead girls family is.

And yes, the daughter very much had something to do with the whole thing.

Edited for clarity:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/C...5/15/internet.suicide.ap/
Quote
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 "****i," the indictment charged.

Around Oct., 7, 2006, Megan was told "Josh" was moving away, prompting the girl to write: "aww ****i josh ur so sweet if u moved back u could see me up close and personal lol."

Several days later, "Josh" urged the girl to call and added: "i love you so much."

But on or about Oct. 16, "Josh" wrote to the girl and told her "in substance, that the world would be a better place without M.T.M. in it," according to the indictment.

The girl hanged herself the same day, and Drew and the others deleted the information in the account, the indictment said.

Last month, an employee of Drew, 19-year-old Ashley Grills, told ABC's "Good Morning America" she created the false MySpace profile but Drew wrote some of the messages to Megan.

Grills said Drew suggested talking to Megan via the Internet to find out what Megan was saying about Drew's daughter, who was a former friend.

Frankly, I don't really care too much about the daughters 'Feelings' or Mrs. Drew, who at 49 should know better. I doubt she ends up in jail, but I think the pain and suffering of being dragged in and out of court and incurring 10's of thousands of dollars in legal fees is the least she deserves.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2008, 06:30:33 PM by MFAWG » Logged Return to Top

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Spanky
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 06:24:58 PM »

The worst part is this case may just get thrown out only because of what she is being charged. It really has nothing to do with the girl that committed suicide. It only has to do with what the woman posted and the charge is more for a hacker breaking and entering/theft type of charge.

Everyone knows the power of suggestion is huge, especially to a hormonal/emotional teenage girl. That mother should have known better.
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hobbit
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2008, 08:44:43 PM »

There was also involvement from a babysitter and a friend of the daughter (who is thought to have been the one that escalated the 'harsh' messages).  Its local so its been all over the news here.

Sad stuff, but I'm not sure how to feel about prosecuting someone for saying mean things.  Isn't that the childhood we all grew up in?  The girl had significant emotional issues already, she was upset by the messages, she thought her mother wasn't taking her side..... she took it to an extreme and killed herself (none of that shows up in the first article - thought I'd fill ya in - it was her own mothers lack of reaction to her distress that was the final breaking event).

Absolutely, the woman should have known better and discouraged her daughter from repeatedly harassing the girl - but I'm unfamiliar with anything like this being prosecuted before.  Why should the Internet be so different?  I can say 'you're better off dead' in person, but post it on the Internet and I'm subject to prosecution?  Strange precedent.



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MFAWG
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2008, 08:46:39 PM »

Some kind of line got crossed when the 49 year old woman started directing the action.

I'm just sayin'...
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Darla
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2008, 08:52:34 PM »

There was also involvement from a babysitter and a friend of the daughter (who is thought to have been the one that escalated the 'harsh' messages).  Its local so its been all over the news here.

Sad stuff, but I'm not sure how to feel about prosecuting someone for saying mean things.  Isn't that the childhood we all grew up in?  The girl had significant emotional issues already, she was upset by the messages, she thought her mother wasn't taking her side..... she took it to an extreme and killed herself (none of that shows up in the first article - thought I'd fill ya in - it was her own mothers lack of reaction to her distress that was the final breaking event).

Absolutely, the woman should have known better and discouraged her daughter from repeatedly harassing the girl - but I'm unfamiliar with anything like this being prosecuted before.  Why should the Internet be so different?  I can say 'you're better off dead' in person, but post it on the Internet and I'm subject to prosecution?  Strange precedent.





It is always hard to blame any family member that is dealing with a loss, but unfortunately "her own mothers lack of reaction to her distress that was the final breaking event..."

This is all very sad, but you are right, kids are cruel. It is the tools that we give to our kids to deal with this cruelty that will help them. (and I don't mean the way that is in question here!)
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hobbit
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 10:55:56 PM »

There was also involvement from a babysitter and a friend of the daughter (who is thought to have been the one that escalated the 'harsh' messages).  Its local so its been all over the news here.

Sad stuff, but I'm not sure how to feel about prosecuting someone for saying mean things.  Isn't that the childhood we all grew up in?  The girl had significant emotional issues already, she was upset by the messages, she thought her mother wasn't taking her side..... she took it to an extreme and killed herself (none of that shows up in the first article - thought I'd fill ya in - it was her own mothers lack of reaction to her distress that was the final breaking event).

Absolutely, the woman should have known better and discouraged her daughter from repeatedly harassing the girl - but I'm unfamiliar with anything like this being prosecuted before.  Why should the Internet be so different?  I can say 'you're better off dead' in person, but post it on the Internet and I'm subject to prosecution?  Strange precedent.





It is always hard to blame any family member that is dealing with a loss, but unfortunately "her own mothers lack of reaction to her distress that was the final breaking event..."

This is all very sad, but you are right, kids are cruel. It is the tools that we give to our kids to deal with this cruelty that will help them. (and I don't mean the way that is in question here!)


I certainly didn't mean to blame the mother - the majority of my 'blame', if you could even call it that, was her emotional ....well, handicap.  She was under the care of a physician and taking medication - this was not an emotionally healthy girl before all this happened.

But again, growing up I saw, heard, even witnessed all of the same (or very similar)  behavior detailed in this story - and no kid I knew killed themselves.  No one ever once considered taking anyone to court.  No one even considered a law to prevent it.  It quite simply was the harsh reality of children being cruel to one another.  Now, I never witnessed an adult taking part in it - but I certainly knew a few parents with which it would not have surprised me (and they were not highly respected people as a result).  The woman certainly deserves the looks, stares, and glances that come her way.

A girl needlessly killed herself - people are looking to blame someone.  But I think trying to blame someone is the wrong route to take here - it leads you down a road you best not take.  As difficult as it is to accept - there is nothing that can be done to protect overly sensitive young kids from the world.

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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2008, 06:30:24 AM »


The mother on trial sounds to have reverted back behaving in the petty ways she most likely acted when she was a teen. 

The difference between her and a teen is that she should have known better.  In a situation like what she got involved in, a higher standard of behavior is expected from an adult.  She should have behaved like, well, an adult.

I don't see this situation as being a lot different from a little league baseball dad coach who instructs a 12 year old to go out on the mound and fire a fastball at an opposing player, simply because the dad coach wants to get back at the kid for some petty slight they perceive.  If by some sort of freak chance, that batter is killed by the act, I have no doubts that the dad coach should and would be held criminally liable for the death of that child.

In this case, the mother inserted herself into some sort of petty conflict that sounds rather typical for kids that age. By her actions, she clearly and quite obviously intended to send a child a hateful message intended to inflict emotional harm. As a result of her actions, one of the children is dead.

Hell yeah she's guilty.  I don't see how this is a close call.

I don't think a blame the victim defense is going to work.
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 07:21:58 AM »

Your usual talent for quality analogies missed the mark this time.  This was not an overt act that directly led to death - there was no ball thrown, no bat swung, no board check delivered.  This is an attempt to criminalize the power of suggestion.

While the mother is certainly petty and should have known better - she was not directing the attack like a battlefield general, and had (from early accounts anyway) not even been aware of the direction the hoax had taken.  The babysitter sent messages, and her daughters friend sent some (apparently the more hurtful ones - fake boyfriend 'dumping' her, etc.).

But criminalizing the power of suggestion - that is the road we cannot go down.  How many people have posted that Brit and her crazy psyche should off herself?  If she does can they be charged with a crime?  What about me telling aske that he should kill the president if he hates him that much?  Should he do it, am I now responsible for the presidents life?  What about all the times someone on this board told me to go *fudge* myself?  Should I perish in the act, due to a faulty fleshlight I'm sure, are they now criminally liable for my death?  As slippery slopes go, this trial has an 80* pitch.

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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2008, 07:41:28 AM »

BTW, the above is nowhere near my complete thoughts on the case - there are holes to fill - but I'm busy at work today and unable to lend enough time to the scribing.

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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2008, 08:13:44 AM »

Quote
Forty-nine-year-old Lori Drew stood quietly beside her attorney Monday. She pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress. She is free on bond.

The proceeding lasted only a few minutes. Drew and her lawyer declined to comment to reporters waiting outside the courtroom.

Drew, of suburban St. Louis, Mo., is accused of helping to create a MySpace account that appeared to belong to a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans. The boy did not exist.

Drew's daughter had been a friend of 13-year-old neighbor Megan Meier and the fake account was used to send cruel messages to the girl, including one stating the world would be better off without her. Megan hanged herself in 2006.
Am I missing something here?  The thrust of it seems to me to be the IIED, not the cyber-crime charge.  A woman created a fraudulent MySpace account appearing to belong to a 16-year-old boy.  She then engages in a pattern of conduct to lead the victim into a romantic online relationship with said non-existent boy.  She then has non-existent boy jilt the victim, urging suicide.  This is far, far past the point of one child in the schoolyard calling another child fat or ugly.

Even without an actual suicide denouement, how is that NOT intentional infliction of emotional distress?  If Drew or her pals actually knew (as is alleged) that the girl was clinically depressed or on meds for it, that hole just gets deeper.
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2008, 08:16:33 AM »

I think this case is similar to scaring the bejesus out of an old dude with a heart condition and causing him to die of a massive heart attack. Almost every time someone makes a racist remark on TV,  some apologist will defend the remark as not having racist "intent". In this case, I think the intent to harm the girl is pretty clear. Only the degree of the intended harm is left to question. Whether or not there's enough evidence for something like involuntary manslaughter is up to the court to decide.
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Re: Woman pleads not guilty in Internet suicide case
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2008, 08:20:05 AM »

BTW, the above is nowhere near my complete thoughts on the case - there are holes to fill - but I'm busy at work today and unable to lend enough time to the scribing.



No problem.  Thanks to hard working people like yourself, we'll stave off a recession with thanks to your productivity.

Doing my part at work, too--let me just say that copulation, or the lack thereof, is now recognized by the Dept of Treasury as a leading economic indicator-- I didn't bother to read what the mother had actually done since I am swamped at work.  My vague understanding from when this incident was first reported was that she inserted herself in a teenage catfight, fanning the flames, committing injurious acts of perjury and perdition.



All the prosecution has to do is prove she is an evil, manipulative moron, which seems like a slam dunk. 

I can't wait the several years it will take for Scalia's writing for the majority, affirming her conviction and imprisonment, even though she may be-technically, innocent of all charges against her-on the basis that putting away people like her not only saves American teens from terroristic tragedy, but more importantly, it makes for great theater to be exploited by the Law and Order franchise and contributes to economic productivity.
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