L.A. grand jury issues subpoenas in Web suicide case
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has begun issuing subpoenas in the case of a Missouri teenager who hanged herself after being rejected by the person she thought was a 16-year-old boy she met on MySpace, sources told The Times.
The case set off a national furor when it was revealed that the "boyfriend" was really a neighbor who was the mother of one of the girl's former friends.
Local and federal authorities in Missouri looked into the circumstances surrounding 13-year-old Megan Meier's 2006 death in the town of Dardenne Prairie, an upper-middle-class enclave of about 7,400 people, located northwest of St. Louis.
But after months of investigation, no charges were filed against Lori Drew for her alleged role in the hoax. Prosecutors in Missouri said they were unable to find a statute under which to pursue a criminal case.
Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, however, are exploring the possibility of charging Drew with defrauding the MySpace social networking website by allegedly creating the false account, according to the sources, who insisted on anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
The sources said prosecutors are looking at federal wire fraud and cyber fraud statutes as they consider the case. Prosecutors believe they have jurisdiction because MySpace is headquartered in Beverly Hills, the sources said.
The news came as a shock to Tina and Ron Meier, Megan's parents. Both said they were unaware of the grand jury and had not been contacted by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
"If MySpace is considered the victim, fine. I don't care at this point," said Tina Meier, 37. "We've been begging for someone -- anyone -- to pick up this case. If the Drews can be charged -- and even get the chance to be convicted -- it would be a day I could be happy with."
The article goes on to solicit opinions from a variety of lawyers, prosecutors, and professors.
No matter what you think about whether the charges hold water, you have to admire just how far they were willing to go to find something to charge the woman with. The irony is that I'll wager Myspace dosen't want to be the 'victim' in this case. The last thing it wants is anything that might shrink its userbase. Telling people that by creating an account with false information they could be subject to fraud charges can't be a positive for their buisness model. I can't exactly applaud the government over-reach, but at least it holds the possibility that bitch will get what's coming to her.