Oh.My.God

30 11 2007

This is downright Frightening!!!! I will not have children. There is no way I could cope with the availability of the negativity through the media.  I was just watching the video Wisco posted which really made me start thinking.  Then I happened across this article today in the New York Times:

A Hoax Turned Fatal Draws Anger but No Charges
By CHRISTOPHER MAAG
Published: November 28, 2007

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo., Nov. 21 — Megan Meier died believing that somewhere in this world lived a boy named Josh Evans who hated her. He was 16, owned a pet snake, and she thought he was the cutest boyfriend she ever had.

Josh contacted Megan through her page on MySpace.com, the social networking Web site, said Megan’s mother, Tina Meier. They flirted for weeks, but only online — Josh said his family had no phone. On Oct. 15, 2006, Josh suddenly turned mean. He called Megan names, and later they traded insults for an hour.

The next day, in his final message, said Megan’s father, Ron Meier, Josh wrote, “The world would be a better place without you.”

Sobbing, Megan ran into her bedroom closet. Her mother found her there, hanging from a belt. She was 13.

Six weeks after Megan’s death, her parents learned that Josh Evans never existed. He was an online character created by Lori Drew, then 47, who lived four houses down the street in this rapidly growing community 35 miles northwest of St. Louis.

That an adult would plot such a cruel hoax against a 13-year-old girl has drawn outraged phone calls, e-mail messages and blog posts from around the world. Many people expressed anger because St. Charles County officials did not charge Ms. Drew with a crime.

But a St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, Lt. Craig McGuire, said that what Ms. Drew did “might’ve been rude, it might’ve been immature, but it wasn’t illegal.”

In response to the events, the local Board of Aldermen on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure making Internet harassment a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

“Give me a break; that’s nothing,” Mayor Pam Fogarty said of the penalties. “But it’s the most we could do. People are saying to me, ‘Let’s go burn down their house.’”

St. Charles County’s prosecuting attorney, Jack Banas, said he was reviewing the case to determine whether anyone could be charged with a crime. State Representative Doug Funderburk, whose district includes Dardenne Prairie, said he was looking into the feasibility of introducing legislation to tighten restrictions against online harassment and fraud.

In seventh grade, Megan Meier had tried desperately to join the popular crowd at Fort Zumwalt West Middle School, only to be teased about her weight, her mother said. At the beginning of eighth grade last year, she transferred to Immaculate Conception, a nearby Catholic school. Within three months, Ms. Meier said, her daughter had a new group of friends, lost 20 pounds and joined the volleyball team.

At one time, Lori Drew’s daughter and Megan had been “joined at the hip,” said Megan’s great-aunt Vicki Dunn. But the two drifted apart, and when Megan changed schools she told the other girl that she no longer wanted to be friends, Ms. Meier said.

In a report filed with the Sheriff’s Department, Lori Drew said she created the MySpace profile of “Josh Evans” to win Megan’s trust and learn how Megan felt about her daughter. Reached at home, Lori’s husband, Curt Drew, said only that the family had no comment.

Because Ms. Drew had taken Megan on family vacations, she knew the girl had been prescribed antidepression medication, Ms. Meier said. She also knew that Megan had a MySpace page.

Ms. Drew had told a girl across the street about the hoax, said the girl’s mother, who requested anonymity to protect her daughter, a minor.

“Lori laughed about it,” the mother said, adding that Ms. Drew and Ms. Drew’s daughter “said they were going to mess with Megan.”

After a month of innocent flirtation between Megan and Josh, Ms. Meier said, Megan suddenly received a message from him saying, “I don’t like the way you treat your friends, and I don’t know if I want to be friends with you.”

They argued online. The next day other youngsters who had linked to Josh’s MySpace profile joined the increasingly bitter exchange and began sending profanity-laden messages to Megan, who retreated to her bedroom. No more than 15 minutes had passed, Ms. Meier recalled, when she suddenly felt something was terribly wrong. She rushed to the bedroom and found her daughter’s body hanging in the closet.

As paramedics worked to revive Megan, the neighbor who insisted on anonymity said, Lori Drew called the neighbor’s daughter and told her to “keep her mouth shut” about the MySpace page.

Six weeks later, at a meeting with the Meiers, mediated by grief counselors, the neighbor told them that “Josh” was a hoax. The Drews were not present.

“I just sat there in shock,” Mr. Meier said.

Shortly before Megan’s death, the Meiers had agreed to store a foosball table the Drews had bought as a Christmas surprise for their children. When the Meiers learned about the MySpace hoax, they attacked the table with a sledgehammer and an ax, Ms. Meier said, and threw the pieces onto the Drews’ driveway.

“I felt like such a fool,” Mr. Meier said. “I’m supposed to protect my family, and here I allowed these people to inject themselves into our lives.”

The police learned about the hoax when Ms. Drew filed a complaint about the damage to the foosball table. In the report, she stated that she felt the hoax “contributed to Megan’s suicide, but she did not feel ‘as guilty’ because at the funeral she found out Megan had tried to commit suicide before.”

Megan had mentioned suicide several times, her mother said, but had never attempted it, and no one who knew her, including her doctors, felt she was suicidal.

On the advice of F.B.I. agents who did not want the Drews to learn of their investigation of the hoax, Ms. Meier said, her family said nothing publicly about the case for a year. Today, the Meier and the Drew families continue to live four houses from one another on a winding suburban street.

“There are no words to explain my rage,” Ms. Meier said. “These people were supposed to be our friends.”

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7 responses

30 11 2007
allie

i know. i read about that a few days ago. people are f-ed up. i will have children, but we will live in a cave with no computer and no tv, but we will have lots of chocolate and coffee and love! yay! you can come visit.

30 11 2007
iwright

That Drew woman is SICK. I hope the people in her community find out about this. And she filed a complaint about the foosball table?? She obviously doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong. What is wrong with people these days?!

1 12 2007
lisamm

I read about that recently. Some people are so messed up. Hard to believe an adult would do this kind of thing. BTW don’t let a story like this make you feel like you don’t want kids. Parenting is wonderful and yes, scary too. But that poor girl had issues to begin with.

1 12 2007
The Exposer

Read here how Fox TV attacked on blogger today, trying to call her a CYBERBULLY for calling for Justice for Megan Meier and accountability for Lori Drew.

They said all of us were a CYBER MOB.

http://clearblogs.com/theexposer/84756

1 12 2007
pistolpete

Believe it or not, it is possible to raise children even in today’s world without such corrosive effects of media. My wife and I have chosen not to have a TV since our children were born. We didn’t go on-line until they were teens. We have just 1 computer and it’s in full view of anyone passing by. Certainly, our kids will pick up negativity. But, this limited exposure keeps them from being numbed by it.

3 12 2007
dancnkc

On Wednesday, October 21st, city officials wasted no time enacting an ordinance designed to address the public outcry for justice in the Megan Meier tragedy. The six member Board of Aldermen made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

Does this new law provide any justice for Megan? Does this law provide equitable relief for a future victim?

The Vice rejects the premise of this new law and believes it completely misses the mark. Classifying this case as a harassment issue completely fails to address the most serious aspects of the methods Lori Drew employed to lead this youth to her demise. The Vice disagrees that harassment was even a factor in this case until just a couple of days before Megan’s death.

Considering this case a harassment issue is incorrect because during the 5 weeks Lori Drew baited and groomed her victim, the attention was NOT unwanted attention. Megan participated in the conversations willingly because she was misled, lured, manipulated and exploited without her knowledge.

This law willfully sets a precedent that future child exploiters and predators might use to reclassify their cases as harassment cases. In effect, the law enacted to give Megan justice, may make her even more vulnerable. So long as the child victim doesn’t tell the predator to stop, even a harassment charge may not stick with the right circumstances and a good defender.

Every aspect of this case follows the same procedural requirement used to convict a Child Predator. A child was manipulated by an adult. A child was engaged in sexually explicit conversation (as acknowledged by Lori Drew herself). An adult imposed her will on a child by misleading her, using a profile designed to sexually or intimately attract the 13 year old Megan.

Lori then utilized the power she had gained over this child to cause significant distress and endangerment to that child. She even stipulated to many of these activities in the police report she filed shortly after Megan’s death.

City officials who continue to ignore this viable, documented admission and continue to address this issue as harassment are intentionally burying their heads in the sand, when the solution is staring them right in the face. Why?

There are several other child exploitation laws on the books. To date, none of them have even been considered by City, State and Federal officials in this case. The Vice is outraged that a motion was never even filed, so that the case could at least be argued before a judge or jury.

Danny Vice
http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

10 12 2007
grace13

thank you all for your comments. yea, i know i’ll prolly have kids. it’s just so scary to think about all the negative influences out there in the world and how much they are pushed at children. I grew up pretty sheltered and am really grateful to my parents for that.

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