Internet suicide case woman pleads not guilty - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Internet suicide case woman pleads not guilty

A 49-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to charges arising from her role in a MySpace hoax that ended with a 13-year-old girl committing suicide after being spurned by a fictitious boy.

Lori Drew, 49, of Missouri, denied charges of conspiracy to inflict emotional distress and accessing MySpace computers without authorization. She will fact trial on July 29.

Prosecutors say Drew set up a fake account on the social networking site and posed, with others, as a 16-year-old boy "Josh Evans" to target a classmate of her teenage daughter, Megan Meier.

Meier hanged herself in October 2006, shortly after receiving a message from "Josh" saying amongst other things that he had no interest in a romantic relationship with her and would be better off without her.

"This adult woman used the Internet to target an innocent girl with horrendous consequences," Los Angeles US Attorney Thomas O'Brien said at an earlier press conference.

"Any adult who uses the Internet or a social networking website to bully another person, particularly a vulnerable teenage girl, should realize this has serious consequences."

Drew and "co-conspirators" used her home computer to chat with Meier on MySpace and gleaned from online exchanges to "torment, harass, humiliate and embarrass" the girl, according to the indictment.

Each of the four criminal counts listed in the indictment carries a maximum prison term of five years.

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