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Prosecutors seek 3-year prison term for woman in MySpace case

The Missouri mother, who played a hoax on a 13-year-old neighbor who committed suicide, was convicted of three counts of accessing computers without authorization.

May 07, 2009|Associated Press

A Missouri mother should serve three years in prison for her role in a MySpace hoax on a 13-year-old neighbor who committed suicide, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Mark Krause outlined the government's position while requesting the maximum sentence for Lori Drew. Probation officials have recommended that Drew receive a year of probation and a $5,000 fine.

Krause argued that Drew "coldly conceived of a scheme to humiliate" Megan Meier, a neighbor in a St. Louis suburb, by helping create a fictitious teenage boy on the social networking site and sending flirtatious messages in his name to the girl.

The fake boy then dumped Megan in a message, saying the world would be better without her. She hanged herself a short time later.

Drew used her then-13-year-old daughter and a business assistant in the scheme, which played on Megan's insecurities, Krause said.

"Both the callousness of defendant's criminal conduct and the extraordinary harm it caused mandate a sentence of more than probation," Krause wrote.

Drew was convicted in November of three counts of accessing computers without authorization. Besides up to three years in prison, she could face a $300,000 fine. Sentencing is set for May 18. The trial was held in Los Angeles because the servers of the social networking site are here.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Drew violated MySpace rules by setting up the phony profile for a boy named "Josh Evans." Jurors decided Drew was not guilty of the more serious felonies of intentionally causing emotional harm while accessing computers without authorization.

The jury could not reach an unanimous verdict on a felony conspiracy charge.

Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan's death.

Drew's attorney, H. Dean Steward, has asked U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu to throw out the verdicts.

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