Acquitted “cyber-bully” Lori Drew a victim of online tormenters

By Keegan Hamilton
Riverfront Times
​Technically this is old news — the judge in the case said way back on July 2 that he had “tentatively” decided to overrule the LA jury’s three guilty verdicts and acquit Lori Drew on misdemeanor charges of violating MySpace’s “Terms of Service” agreement. But, as of last Friday, the judge’s ruling became official and the (mostly positive) long-term implications warrant a little discussion.
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Judge rules Internet hoaxer Lori Drew can use Web again

Associated Press
Lori Drew, a Missouri woman who perpetrated a MySpace hoax that drove her daughter’s 13-year-old classmate to suicide, can now use the Internet again, according to a court ruling.
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Lori Drew in cyber-bullying case requests Internet access for work

BY ROBERT PATRICK
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Lori Drew, accused of involvement in cyber-bullying linked to the 2006 death of a teenager in Dardenne Prairie, wants permission to go back online, her lawyer said in a court filing. Attorney H. Dean Steward wrote that Drew got a recent offer of a job that would require her to use the Internet. The request is limited to work-related access.

Drew has been banned from the Internet since June 16, 2008, when she pleaded not guilty of a federal conspiracy charge and three counts of illegally accessing a protected computer.
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Chicago Sun-Times on Lori Drew cyber-bullying acquittal

Merced Sun Star Opinion Page
If ever a person deserves a little old-fashioned public shaming, it is Lori Drew, the creepy mom from Missouri who participated in an Internet hoax that drove a teenage girl to suicide.

And we, the media, have been giving it to Drew for the last year-and-a-half, just by telling the whole world what a reprehensible thing she did. It is hard to imagine that Drew can walk into a diner anymore without somebody whispering, “That’s the woman who … “Is that punishment enough? Who knows. Some will say it is too much.

But we do know this — the next heartless adult who thinks about toying with the emotions of a teenager in such a cruel way might think twice. Nobody wants to be another Lori Drew, who must live with the burden of what she did. Full story.

Cape Cod Times: The Global Village Has Its Idiots

This commentary, “The Global Village Has Its Idiots,” by C.M. Boots-Faubert appeared in the July 7, 2009 edition of the Cape Cod Times.

By C.M. Boots-Faubert
When we think of a bully, chances are the image is of a slightly larger than normal school-aged child with a propensity for violent or abusive behavior that we do not understand, and want nothing to do with.

I am fairly certain that the phenomenon of the bully is near universal — and I do not speak from a position of pure speculation, as I have had my own experiences with bullies and bullying both as a child, and as the parent of a child.

When I was 11 years old, a new kid arrived at our school, a year older and a year larger but somehow kept back in our grade. He was, by every definition of the word, a bully. I was his second target of opportunity, and I must admit he did a good job on me, leaving me with a fat lip, a bloody nose, and very wounded pride. I chose not to defend myself, not out of fear of the bully, but out of fear of the nuns — who were a much more fearsome danger in Catholic school, considering their attitude about fighting.

I took a good beating because at the time — 1977 — taking a beating like a man was almost as respectable as giving one back to the bully who attacked you. Those were different times — saner and safer times, in my opinion. For one thing, children did not carry handguns or knives to school, and getting even with someone meant popping them in the nose, not killing them — or perhaps almost as bad, destroying their emotional stability and reputation online — the latter an action that may well have killed one 13-year-old little girl.

Who is Lori Drew?
Last Thursday in Los Angeles, US District Court Judge George Wu overturned the verdict in the case of the United States vs. Lori Drew — a case you may have heard of. Lori Drew is a 50-year-old mother from Missouri who, in September 2006, showed very bad judgment when she conspired with her then-13-year-old daughter and an employee of her business to manufacture a MySpace profile for a fictitious, good-looking teenage boy, and then used that profile to toy with the emotions of a 13-year-old girl who happened to be her neighbor and, at some point, friend of her daughter. Read the full article.

MySpace bullying conviction tentatively tossed

By Linda Deutsch
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (July 2) — A federal judge on Thursday tentatively threw out the convictions of a Missouri mother for her role in a MySpace hoax directed at a 13-year-old neighbor girl who ended up committing suicide.

U.S. District Judge George Wu said he was acquitting Lori Drew of misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization but stressed the ruling was tentative until he issues it in writing. He noted the case of a judge who changed his mind after ruling.

Drew was convicted in November, but the judge said that if she is to be found guilty of illegally accessing computers, anyone who has ever violated the social networking site’s terms of service would be guilty of a misdemeanor. That would be unconstitutional, he said.

“You could prosecute pretty much anyone who violated terms of service,” he said.
Prosecutors had sought the maximum three-year prison sentence and a $300,000 fine, but it had been uncertain going into Thursday’s hearing whether Drew would be sentenced. Full story.