"What Drew really did was harassment and the fact that she used the Internet was just kind of an accident," says Sheldon Rampton, research director for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wis. "A lot of people do things on the Internet that are not nice, but that doesn't mean they should all be criminalized."
Attention and outrage about the incident first surfaced in late 2007, nearly a year after the suicide in O'Fallon, Mo. On MySpace, Drew created a 16-year-old boy named "Josh Evans" who subsequently began to send messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier, who had recently ended her friendship with Drew's daughter, Sarah. Pretending to have just moved to Dardenne Prairie, a small town just a few miles south of O'Fallon, "Josh" befriended the 13-year-old and feigned romantic interest. Prosecutors allege that Drew wanted to learn about Megan and what had happened to the friendship with Sarah.
After a while, "Josh" told Megan, "I don't know if I want to be friends with you anymore, because I've heard that you are not very nice to your friends."
The next day "Josh" wrote: "Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you.... The world would be a better place without you." Megan responded, "You're the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over," and then hanged herself in her bedroom closet.
Federal prosecutors brought the case to trial in Los Angeles because MySpace is headquartered in Beverly Hills and the US Attorney has claimed jurisdiction. Missouri law enforcement officials said they did not bring charges because they had not found enough evidence.