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Megan Meier’s Suicide by Online Harassment Goes Unpunished

We’re disappointed to learn today that the prosecutor in St. Charles county couldn’t figure out how to prosecute the people partially responsible for 13-year-old’s Megan Meier’s death. Good ‘ole county prosecutor Jack Banas said that based on available evidence, the actions of the people involved in the Internet bullying did not meet the standards required by state laws for either harassment, stalking or endangering the welfare of a child.

Really? Wow, that’s amazing. Either those must be weakest, dumbest state laws in existence meant to protect victims, or someone has cold feet in prosecuting a case bound to get continued national attention.

Megan Meier’s parents said her suicide was the result of harassment via her Myspace page:

Her parents said an adult neighbor created a teenaged boy who pretended to be interested in Megan before he began bullying her. The neighbors admitted to police that they created the account.

[…]
Megan hanged herself Oct. 16, 2006, shortly after receiving cruel messages on the social networking website MySpace. Megan’s parents, Ron and Tina Meier, found out six weeks after Megan’s death that the boy their daughter had been chatting with online never existed.

The boy’s profile, they learned, was the creation of Lori Drew, her daughter and Drew’s employee, Ashley Grills. The Drews and the Meiers live four doors apart on Waterford Crystel Drive in Dardenne Prairie.

Vicki Dunn, who is Tina Meier’s aunt, said she was disappointed in Banas’ decision, but she understood the limitations of state law. “I’m not happy with what’s happened,” she said. “All we can do is move forward and look at the bigger picture, and get laws changed.”

It’s sad that even the opportunity for justice won’t be available to the family of Megan Meier. We believe they — and the citizens of St. Charles County — deserve better.

Read the full article: No charges in Myspace suicide case

Megan Meier’s Suicide by Online Harassment Goes Unpunished

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.


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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2007). Megan Meier’s Suicide by Online Harassment Goes Unpunished. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/megan-meiers-suicide-by-online-harassment-goes-unpunished/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Dec 2007
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Dec 2007
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.