Invoking a criminal statute more commonly used to go after computer hackers or crooked government employees, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Thursday charged a Missouri mother with fraudulently creating a MySpace account and using it to “cyber-bully” a 13-year-old girl who later committed suicide. The girl, Megan Meier, hanged herself in her upstairs bedroom two years ago, shortly after being jilted by an Internet suitor she thought was a 16-year-old boy. The case caused a national furor when it was alleged that the “boy” was actually Lori Drew, the mother of one of Megan’s former friends.
Drew, 49, of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles, reports the city’s Times. She is accused of providing bogus information to Beverly Hills-based MySpace when she created an account in the name of the imaginary boy, Josh Evans. Drew then used the account to obtain information about Megan in violation of MySpace rules, which she used “to inflict emotional distress” on the girl, prosecutors allege. Officials said it was the first case of its kind in the nation. Drew’s attorney, H. Dean Steward, said, “There are a lot of issues we’re going to need to raise, including why this case is happening in Los Angeles.”