The 49 year old Missouri mother accused of an Internet bullying hoax has been convicted, as reported by the Associated Press. Lori Drew created a MySpace page pretending to be a 16 year old boy in order to humiliate a 13 year old neighbor, Megan Meier, who Drew claimed had said mean things about her daughter. Drew used the page to send flirtatious messages to Meier. After 4 weeks, Drew sent a message to Meier breaking up with her and saying, “The world would be better off without you.”
Megan hanged herself after getting messages from the fictitious boyfriend. Drew was charged with conspiracy; however, the jury could not come to a decision on that charge and the judge declared a mistrial. The jury also did not convict on the three included felony charges of accessing computers without authorization to inflict emotional harm. They instead reached a guilty verdict on the misdemeanor charges of assessing a computer without authorization.
Prosecutor Thomas O’ Brien stated “Lori Drew decided to humiliate a child”. Drew could be sentenced to up to three years in prison and given a $100,000 fine. This is considered a landmark cyber bulling case. The charge was based on computer fraud laws and is the first of its kind.