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Drew found guilty on lesser charges


St. Louis – A federal jury in Los Angeles has convicted Lori Drew of St. Charles County on misdemeanor charges for creating a fake MySpace profile that was used to harass Megan Meier, 13, a neighbor.

Megan committed suicide in 2006 after receiving an online message saying the world would be better off without her.

The jury found Drew guilty of three counts of accessing a computer without authorization. But the 12 men and women acquitted her of a more serious felony charge.

Jim Martin, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, said he would not have attempted to prosecute the case.

"My guess is that the message is this is not what the statute is made for," Martin said.

Martin called the case tragic, but said he's not sure laws are needed to criminalize Drew's actions.

She faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each conviction.

A Missouri law that took effect in August expanded the definition of harassment to include things said to inflict emotional distress, and applied it to Internet communications.

Its sponsor said the law was designed to address the problem of Internet bullying as a whole.


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