Dismissal In MySpace Suicide Case Could Spark Cyberbullying Crackdown
Jim LiebeltJim Liebelt's Blog
- 2009 Jul 06
A federal judge's recent decision to dismiss charges against Lori Drew in the "MySpace suicide" case is already fueling an attempt to enact a new federal cyberbullying law.
"This decision is disappointing, but is a direct example of why we need laws to address new crimes like cyberbullying," Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) said in a statement issued after the case was dismissed. Sanchez recently proposed a law, the "Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act," that would criminalize online harassment.
Drew, an adult Missouri resident, was prosecuted for allegedly violating a federal computer fraud law by helping to hatch a plan to create a fake profile of a boy, "Josh," who sent messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier. The messages, flirtatious at first, eventually turned hurtful. Megan hanged herself after receiving a final message from "Josh" that the world would be a better place without her.
Sanchez's bill would make it a crime to send electronic communications "with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." The bill would also require that the sender exhibit "severe, repeated, and hostile behavior."
Source: Online Media Daily