The Megan Meier MySpace case, in which Megan committed suicide after a MySpace hoax committed by no less than an adult, has caused a Missouri community to craft a law to prevent something from this from happening again, at least without some punishment for the perpetrators.
The goal of the ordinance, said Assistant City Attorney John Young, is to punish people who use threatening or obscene language or images through electronic communication to inflict emotional distress on another person. Young said he researched similar legislation in other cities and states in drafting the ordinance.
Megan Meier hanged herself with a cloth belt from a support beam in a closet in her Dardenne Prairie home Oct. 16, 2006, shortly after receiving cruel messages on MySpace, a popular social networking website. Megan had been exchanging messages with a 16-year-old named Josh Evans for about six weeks before her death.
Megan's parents, Ron and Tina Meier, discovered six weeks after Megan's death that Josh Evans never existed. The Meiers have accused neighbor Lori Drew, her 13-year-old daughter and Drew's employee, Ashley Grills, 18, of creating the fictitious Myspace profile to send messages to Megan using a photograph and the name Josh Evans.
Some have said, it's just MySpace and teens should expect this sort of behavior. Even if one were to accept that, in this case the fact than adult committed the heinous act, makes all the difference. MySpace calls itself "a place for friends." In this case it was "a place for fiends."