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MySpace 'suicide bully cleared'

Tina Meier: ''Lori Drew is living a life conviction right now''

A US judge has acquitted a Missouri woman over her role in a computer hoax directed at a 13-year-old neighbour who later killed herself.

District Judge George Wu stressed the ruling in the case of Lori Drew was tentative until issued in writing.

Drew, 50, was convicted last year after allegedly creating a fake MySpace page to find out what Megan Meier was saying about her daughter.

After the fake boy "dumped" Ms Meier online, she committed suicide.

Drew was found guilty in November of illegally accessing computers.

'Public symbol'

But the judge said on Thursday that if she had been convicted for breaking the social networking site's terms of service, "you could prosecute pretty much anyone who violated terms of service".

Lori Drew leaves an LA Court 18 May
Lori Drew's lawyer denied his client had caused the girl's suicide

Posing as "Josh Evans", Drew started an online relationship with her teenage neighbour, before apparently staging a falling-out and sending a message that "the world would be better off without" her.

She hanged herself a short time later in October 2006.

During court proceedings, Drew's lawyer argued that "the government's case is all about making Lori Drew a public symbol of cyber-bullying".

"The government has created a fiction that Lori Drew somehow caused [Megan's] death, and it wants a long prison sentence to make its fiction seem real."

But federal prosecutor Tom O'Brien said he stood by his decision to prosecute.

"I'm proud of this case," he said. "This is a case that called out for someone to do something. It was a risk. But this office will always take risks on behalf of children.



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SEE ALSO
Cyber bullying case sentence due
01 Jul 09 |  Technology
MySpace bully sentencing delayed
19 May 09 |  Americas
US woman denies 'cyber-bullying'
17 Jun 08 |  Americas
How dangerous are networking sites?
18 Nov 08 |  Americas
Making bad law from good intentions?
19 May 08 |  Technology

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