Lori Drew Officially Acquitted


Well, it’s official.  On Sunday, U.S. District Judge George Wu acquitted Lori Drew of all federal criminal charges for her involvement in the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier.  As you may recall, back in November a jury initially found Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges of illegally accessing a protected computer (in essence, she was found guilty of violating MySpace.com’s Terms of Service). About two months ago, Judge Wu alluded to the fact that the case would be dismissed. Now it is official.

We have discussed this issue at length on this blog, acknowledging the various issues at play. Without question, what Lori Drew did was wrong. The question always has been, though, were those behaviors criminal? At the time, there really wasn’t any clear criminal statute that Drew had violated (that has since changed with several states and cities recently passing “cyberbullying laws”). The local prosecutor refused to pursue the case but a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles ultimately filed charges in federal court. It was those charges that have now been thrown out.

So what can we learn from this experience? First, it is important for federal, state, and local officials to clearly articulate legislation that unambiguously addresses the undesirable behaviors. This can be tricky given the constantly-changing nature of technology deviance. That said, any legislation should be grounded in what we know about youth and interpersonal aggression. Second, it is essential that parents, educators, and teens themselves work to prevent cyberbullying from occurring in the first place so that tragic incidents like this do not repeat themselves. Teens need to be empowered to shrug off minor forms of cyberbullying and to consult with an adult when the behaviors become too much to handle. Witnesses need to stand up for targets of cyberbullying by reporting what they see to teachers or parents so that the behaviors do not escalate. Everyone needs to recognize their role in cyberbullying prevention and response. If you don’t know what your role is, find out. You have a responsibility to take action. More on this in future postings…


  1. I think it is so sad for anyone child to resort to suicide. In today's society kids have so many problems and issues on their plate that sometimes suicide is the bbest thing they feel they should do to stop the pain. In this case, it sounds like the girl who did kill herself had no way of coping with all her issues. A lot of kids try so hard to fit in that when they don't they find it hard to go on. I don't think its fair to her or her family for anyone to judge her on her decision to end her life and for anyone to say make jokes of th esituation. True it is a machine, but the internet and technology have come a long way in the last few years and words do hurt and words do sting. For some kids, words can kill and in this case it did. I send my thoughts and prayers out to her family and will continue to educate young adults on the seriousness of cyberbullying.

  2. I believe that anyone contributing in bullying that ends with any type of violence, self inflicted or not, should have to bear some kind of responsibility. Just as I believe that there should be a moral code regarding stronger, older minds preying on the younger minds.

    I believe it is time for everyone to be held accountable for their actions, and the effects of those actions…on the street, or on the computer. If she were bullied in person would it make a difference? I think so, intentional psychological harm – if not the mere threats of bullies. Is financial computer fraud (like the Nigerian Scam) not as bad financial Ponzi Schemes?

  3. I believe that Lori Drew was angry that a 13 year old girl may of said that "she didn't like her daughter any more for some reason". Being the mother of two grown children, I has seen countless friendships blossom and fall apart over many years and most, by the way were rekindled many times over. If Lori Drew's daughter was the one to commit suicide how would she feel about a cyber bully? She should be held responsible for her actions where ever they took place in person, on the phone, or on the computer. There is no difference typing on a page or talking on a phone. WHERE ARE YOUR MORALS???? A very young girl is dead because of you!!!!!

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