More Facts about the Megan Meier Case

This story from CNN provides some interesting facts about the Megan Meier case:

Megan became friends with the Drews’ young daughter and the girls remained close for years, according to a report provided by prosecutors. But the girls had a falling-out in 2006.

A teenage employee of Drew’s named Ashley said she created the “Josh” account on MySpace after a brainstorming session with Drew and her daughter, according to a prosecutor’s report. Drew said the girls approached her with the idea, and she told them only to send polite messages to Megan.

Ashley sent Megan many of the messages from “Josh,” and Lori Drew was aware of them, prosecutors said.

On October 16, 2006, there was a heated online exchange between Megan and Ashley, who was posing as Josh. A few other MySpace users joined in, calling Megan names. It ended when “Josh” said the world would be better off without Megan.

Tina Meier said her daughter went to her room, crying and upset. About 20 minutes later, Megan was found hanging from a belt tied around her neck.

Drew’s attorney Jim Briscoe said on NBC on Tuesday that Drew “absolutely, 100 percent” had nothing to do with the negative comments posted online about Megan and wasn’t aware of them until after the girl took her life.

One possibility is that perhaps one of the other young girls involved made the nasty comments that precipitated Megan’s despair. This still doesn’t excuse the mother’s involvement in the fake profile, but much of the online shaming blames her for the suicide. Maybe Lori Drew is taking the brunt of the criticism to protect the other young girls involved.

Suppose the mother weren’t involved at all, and the profile were made totally by the young teenage girls without the knowledge of any adults — would people feel differently about the online shaming campaign or about posting personal information about the creators of the profile?

Meanwhile, the shaming of the Drews continues:

A few weeks ago, someone made a prank call to police reporting that there had been a shooting inside the Drews’ house, prompting squad cars to arrive with sirens flashing.

Someone recently obtained the password to change the Drews’ outgoing cell phone recording, and replaced it with a disturbing message. Police would not detail the content.

Clients have fled from Drew’s home-based advertising business, so she had to close it. Neighbors have not seen Drew outside her home in weeks.

Death threats and ugly insults have been hurled at Drew over the Internet, where she has been portrayed as a monster who should go to prison, lose custody of her children, or worse. Her name and address have been posted online, and a Web site with satellite images of the home said the Drews should “rot in hell.” . . . .

Sheriff’s Lt. David Tiefenbrunn said patrols have been stepped up around Drew’s house. “There could be individuals out there with a vigilante-type attitude that might want to take revenge,” he said

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9 Responses

  1. jimi says:

    are the parents filing a civil claim against drews, e.g., IIED?

  2. W. Winter says:

    I’m pretty sure they can’t. Well, they could, but it’s so difficult to win non-parasidic IIED cases that they probably wouldn’t be able to find a plaintiffs attorney willing to try. (And we all know how much fun NIED claims are.)

    That said, it just goes to show what happens when legal remedies aren’t really available. Given the courts’ insensitivity to racial and gender claims, I wonder what minorities and women secretly do to retaliate against those who discriminated against and/or raped them. I know one person who secretly mailed tax forms incriminating his boss to the IRS after one Michael Scott-esque comment too many, and a woman who got her rapist’s family deported. I don’t know if this type of non-vigilante retaliation is widespread or not, but frankly, I’d much rather have someone sue me than have virtually all of my relatives sent back to China.

  3. K. Starks says:

    When the girls approached Lori Drew, why didn’t she just say “if you aren’t friends anymore, then leave her alone and do something else.” That’s what I was taught.

    Had the mom not known about it, I think people would believe this was unfortunate but kids will be kids. Even Megan’s mom is more upset that Lori was involved than that the kids did something stupid.

  4. Mike says:

    I think the CNN story was a whitewash of the Drew woman. CNN must of decided that the story of a neighborhood gone crazy was better than what really happened. What they didn’t say was how only hours after the girl killed herself Lori Drew called other people who knew about the “prank” and told them to keep quite about it. She certainly knew that her prank had been a factor in the suicide.

    At the FBI’s request it was kept quite that Lori Drew had been involved. When she found out Thanksgiving weekend that the Meier’s knew what she had done, she went and pounded on their front door demanding to be let in to explain it wasn’t her fault.

    Incidentally, while she was doing this to the daughter she was still “friends” with the girls parents and had even hidden her husbands Christmas present at their house.

  5. Melinda says:

    If the neighborhood participates in shunning the Drew’s then is the neighborhood responsible for any distress/suicides in the Drew family?

  6. Sarah Wells says:

    “Suppose the mother weren’t involved at all, and the profile were made totally by the young teenage girls without the knowledge of any adults — would people feel differently about the online shaming campaign or about posting personal information about the creators of the profile?”

    Since young girl are not held to the standard of

    judgment and conduct of an adult woman 30+ years their senior, and are expected to make poor judgments and behave badly on occasion on the road to maturity, I think that is a very silly question.

    The fact that Drew is a “village” adult charged with duties to children, and her very young adult employee, peculiar to her status as mother figure, authority figure, and trusted adult friend and neighbor, sets her conduct in a new category of wrong compared with that of ordinary teen-and-tween mean girl schtick.

  7. Sarah,

    Thanks for responding to my blog posts about the Meier case. It is true that Lori Drew is an adult, with greater responsibilities than a teenager. It is also true that she’s not blameless in the situation. But:

    1. It still remains unclear from the facts what her precise role was. How much did she encourage the creation of the fake profile? To what extent did she encourage the development of the fake relationship between Meier and “Josh Evans”? It is one thing to be blamed for being irresponsible and insensitive; it is another thing to be blamed for being the cause of another’s suicide. Although Drew’s actions were a factor in the suicide, the facts as I know them suggest a number of factors. This doesn’t exonerate Drew, but it does suggest that the events in this incident are not as simple and black-and-white as they are often made out to be.

    2. I raised my hypothetical to illustrate that judgments can differ about who ought to be shamed and for what. Although you think my question is “silly,” your answer suggests that you would opt not to shame the young girl in my hypothetical. But what if others disagree and think that a young girl ought to be held to a higher standard? That’s one of the problems with online shaming — it might seem fine if you agree with the shamers, their level of anger, the words and actions they might use. But what if you don’t agree? There’s little way to control it. So if the shaming gets out of hand, and young girls are shamed just as harshly as Lori Drew, there’s little that can be done. Shaming can be fine if it’s your sense of morality that is being enforced, but there’s no guarantee that all shaming will follow your moral views.

  8. Danny Vice says:

    While the Megan Meier case seems outrageous and unique, it isn’t. Hundreds of cases of egregious and heinous acts go on every day with the same excuses out of our lawmakers.

    One such other case….The case of Nikki Catsouras, is a classic example of disgusting, hateful activity against innocent victims, while our lawmakers excuse themselves from enacting laws to prevent this.

    The excuse lawmakers use to let themselves off the hook stem from the growth of the Internet and how fast it’s changing. This is a sham.

    Chat rooms, message boards, instant messengers and email have been in existence for far over a decade now. While the software used to transmit messages changes slightly, the basic essence of using the Internet to send a message is largely the same. Is a decade or two long enough to establish some basic decency laws in regards to Internet usage?

    I’ve posted the Nikki Catsouras story along with many details about the Megan Meier case so the inactivity out of our lawmakers towards these types of cases can be clearly seen.

    Those who are interested in learning about cases like Megan’s and Nikki’s case are encouraged to drop by and comment on them. I have a couple of polls set up as well. Danny Vice would like to hear your point of view.

    Public awareness of the problem and discussions about possible solutions are the best way to pressure elected officials into action instead of excuse making.

    I invite you to come by and share your opinion.

    Danny Vice

  9. Danny Vice says:

    We have a county prosecutor and a defense attorney who have gone on the record with statements that flat out rewrite history and previous statements.

    If we were to believe that the statements Lori Drew is now making are truthful, and the police report she filed in Nov. 2006, was incorrect, then Lori Drew should be prosecuted for filing a false police, making a false statement or obstruction of justice.

    Lori Drew, through her attorney Jim Briscoe has made the following statement:

    “Everything, as far as Mrs. Drew knew, was that all the communication was nice and polite and there was no harassing going on. She did not create the MySpace account. She did not instruct anybody to create the MySpace account. She never made any communications through the MySpace account.”

    Well alright Lori, now that you’ve completely absolved yourself from the case in any way, shape or form, please explain how this squares with your previous statements.

    When it all comes down to it, we simply don’t believe you. We’ll take the officer’s account of what you said above what your attorney says. He was not being paid to defend you.

    Jack Banas, we are calling for charges in this case one way or another.

    Either the women did stalk this child, or she made knowingly false statements to the police prior to the surfacing of this report.

    You cannot absolve this woman of complete wrong doing on both sides of the fence. Pick a side or step down and let someone take over who can. Too many admissions have been publicly made for you to continue to hide under your desk.

    Danny Vice