The use of a fake MySpace identity by adult neighbors to trick and then crush a young girl (who later committed suicide) has outraged Americans. One possible charge would involve a controversial new law barring internet abuse — a law that is ripe for challenge.As noted in earlier entries, the tragedy of Megan Meier should result in legal action. Click here The parents however appear not inclined to sue though claims of negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and other claims are possible. However, one intriguing possibility is the new federal law prohibiting internet abuse. The new law (passed with little scrutiny in the last Congress) states:
“Whoever…utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet… without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person…who receives the communications…shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
It is a law that has some obvious flaws that better drafting and a modicum of legal review should have eliminated at the committee drafting stage. A term like “annoy” is a red flag for constitutional challenge for vagueness.The case is worthy of national debate and not just sensational. The alleged destruction of the neighbors lawn by Mr. Meier seems to reflect a sense of no recourse for this horrific act. The law is based on a covenant between citizens and their government: in giving up their right of self-help in such circumstances, the government assures them that justice will be done. Here a girl is dead, neighbors are accused of terrible misconduct, and yet the legal system seems unable to address the loss. This does not appear to be a good criminal case, but a civil case can be brought — even if novel.
5 thoughts on “Megan Meier Case: A Test Case for the Crime of Internet Annoyance?”
Man,Im waching a show on t.v about this case.It turns out that she was depressed,So am i.Its hard to have people making you feel down,Expecial when its an adult.No one should ever do what “Drew”Did.She should be arrested,And put to death.She WAS involved in Megans suicide.She knew about the account,And what was going on.Meny people have been arrested for knowing about a murder,Or the suicide…And have either been put to death,Or prison for life.She should be put on tril,And grilled by all people who have been bullied over the internet.
I agree with Ryan. Alot of people do this type of stuff on a daily basis. They harass each other and do things a whole lot worse. However, she should definently be held against all this because she’s an older woman. Those are kids who hurt kids. An adult hurting a kid is just not right. And, this was all because Lori’s silent and shallow daughter couldn’t handle someone talking about her, when she probably does the same thing to other people.
Ms. Drew is not a good person, but what she did happens everyday in schools. How can you hold her to higher standard because she used her computer to harass a student when students are doing much worse to each other everyday.
Lori Drew is a psychopath. That part is clear.
But more disturbing than that are the actions of authorities: If it had been an adult MALE that “carried on” in a sexually explicit way with a 13 year old girl, even if it WERE for the purposes of revenge for his teen daughter, he’d be locked up as a pedophile.
Second, there are al-READY laws on the books that cover this type of harassment. For chrissake: just implement them!
What is particularly chilling to me, is that Lori Drew knew that the victim was known to be suicidal in the past. That means that her statement to her that the “world would be better off without you” or whatever it was… is even MORE chilling: it means she was TRYING to steer this girl to suicide. It means she had a desire to push it in that direction, and did so.
Reminds me of Charles Manson. He never “technically” put his own hands upon his victims either, but he “made it happen” by manipulating people, I mean that’s the premise upon which he was convicted: that he had INCITED it.
Same thing here. Lori Drew incited this suicide and should be just as responsible as Manson was when he incited those murders—and she should also be treated just like any other adult who engages in online relationships of a sexual nature with under-aged children.
Ms. Drew played directly on the sensitivities she knew would cause maximum damage to the Megan. Ms. Drew lured Megan in a way she knew would be most devastating to the child.
This wicked MOA Drew used is the exact methodology that a child predator employs to bait, lure and reel a child victim into doing their will. Child grooming was utilized over weeks and weeks to gain the child’s trust… and once trust was obtained, she exploited it into a relationship. (Another Child Predator Hallmark).
When Ms. Drew saw her bullets were hitting it’s mark, she turned up the heat. She invited others to partake in the sick, twisted mental assault on this child, keeping the pressure up. Even her business employee joined in the game.
Ms. Drew then delivered the final blow that many depressed 13 year old girls would crumble under.
She mentally raped the child and left her for dead. Better said, encouraged her for dead.
Ms. Drew remains smug and defiant about her actions – even seeks to attack this grieving family while their beloved daughter’s memory is fresh in their mind.
She has committed the unthinkable…. and doesn’t even acknowledge she abused this child.
Child Predators go to jail for their actions. Physical contact is not required for a conviction. Evidence of any kind of sexually charged grooming of a child by an adult is worthy of a charge of indecent liberties with a child…. or at the very least harassment.
If even assisted suicide is criminal intent, driving someone to it should at least qualify as something more heinous than an ordinary parking ticket.
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