A federal jury delivered a mixed verdict today convicting a Missouri mother of misdemeanor charges in a nationally watched cyber-bullying case in which the woman was accused of using a fake MySpace account to torment a teenage girl who later committed suicide.
The jurors, however, rejected more serious felony charges against Lori Drew, 49, who was involved in a hoax on 13-year-old Megan Meier. The panel deadlocked on a conspiracy count. (LA Times)
This is a complex issue. While it’s easy to wish that they throw the book at a grown woman who participates in a scheme to torment a young girl, an important component of the prosecution’s case was that Lori Drew violated the terms of service (TOS) for using the MySpace service. How many of us click “I Agree” without carefully reading the text? The Electronic Freedom Foundation argues that bad things could result from a conviction based on a TOS violation.
Wired has some good background, reminding us that bloggers had a hand in publicizing the case.