Monday, December 3, 2007

MySpace Suicide: No Justice For Megan

At a news conference today St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas said there will be no charges filed against those involved in the Megan Meier Myspace Hoax case. Bana said there were no applicable statutes to file charges against Lori Drew and her 18-year-old employee who has been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.
Banas said he looked at laws related to stalking, harassment and child endangerment, but found no repeated incidents of threats to someone's life or health, and no organized conspiracy. [1]
There seems to be a discrepancy between the police report and what Bana proffers as evidence.
A police report said that a mother from the neighborhood and her 18-year-old employee fabricated a profile for a teenage boy online who pretended to be interested in Megan before he began bullying her.[1]
In today's news conference, Bana stated that it was the 18-year-old employee who was "responsible" for creating the MySpace profile. That the employee was now hospitalized in a psych ward.

Outrage from Missourians over what happened to Megan and Megan's family prompted the Governor to speak with lawmakers as to whether there were any laws on the books that might be applicable to this case.

The city where Megan lived passed its own ordinance against cyber-harassment.
DARDENNE PRAIRIE • City officials declared online harassment a crime Wednesday, fewer than two weeks after they learned of a 13-year-old girl who killed herself after receiving hurtful messages on a popular social networking website.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously passed an ordinance making online harassment a misdemeanor in this city of about 5,500.

"It is our hope that by supporting one of our own in Dardenne Prairie, we can do our part to ensure this type of harassing behavior never happens again, anywhere," said Mayor Pam Fogarty. "After all, harassment is harassment regardless of the mechanism or tool." [2]
Some have argued that what Lori Drew and her cohorts did to Megan was a criminal offense. Others maintain that what they did was immoral but not illegal. The discrepancy between the police report and the prosecutor's statement is interesting. Investigations are tools used by authorities in order to make the decision whether or not to file charges and what class of criminal charges would be applicable to the case.

The prosecutor relayed two separate pieces of information. One, that the county has no laws that they could use in this case. Does this mean if it had the right sort of laws on the books that they could move to prosecute?

Bana said that it was 18-year-old employee who set up the MySpace profile and he seemed to infer that the mother was somehow less involved.

Why would an 18-year-old employee of Lori Drew want to set up a profile of a fake boy in order to taunt and harass a 13-year-old ex-friend of Lori Drew's daughter? We find it quite strange that an employee of Lori Drew, someone who was peripheral to Megan at best, would be the instigator in the hoax.

The recourse left to Megan's parents, at least in the courts, is a civil suit. Lori Drew would have to sit down and answer questions in a deposition. Under oath. Perhaps the "truth" about who was behind the instigation of the fake MySpace profile might be revealed.

No criminal or civil suit will bring back Megan but they could be used to get at the truth. To shed light on what Lori Drew hoped to achieve, what her intent was, the actual plot revealed.

The story of what happened to Megan festered behind closed doors for over a year. Not until the whole truth has been revealed can Megan's family and community begin to heal.

Source - [1] - Associated Press - No Charges Filed in MySpace Suicide Case
Source - [2] - Megan Meier Myspace Suicide: Town Cracks Down On Cyber-Bullies
Image [AP Photo]


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