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Page last updated at 02:15 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 03:15 UK

US 'cyber-bully' mother indicted

Myspace website
MySpace users create online profiles

A Missouri woman who allegedly used a fake MySpace profile to bully a girl who later committed suicide has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury.

Lori Drew, 49, allegedly posed as a boy on the website to befriend Megan Meier, 13, who hanged herself after he broke off the virtual relationship.

Ms Drew denies creating the profile on the social networking website and sending messages to Meier.

She faces four charges, each carrying a maximum 5-year prison term.

Meier, a neighbour of Ms Drew in St Louis, Missouri, took her own life in October 2006.

It is alleged that she killed herself after receiving several cruel messages, including one purporting to be from the fictitious 16-year-old boy - named Josh Evans saying the world would be better off without her.

Ms Drew faces charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers without authorisation to inflict emotional distress.

"Any adult who uses the internet or a social gathering website to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realise that their actions can have serious consequences," said Los Angeles federal prosecutor Thomas O'Brien, who brought the charges.

Dean Steward, a lawyer representing Drew in the federal case, told the Associated Press a legal challenge to the charges was planned.

"We thought when prosecutors in St Louis looked at the case and all the facts, it was clear no criminal acts occurred," he said.

MySpace issued a statement saying it "does not tolerate cyberbullying" and was cooperating fully with the US attorney.



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