Prosecutors Charge Seven Under 'Cyberbully' Law
The law went into effect in late August and was passed after 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide in 2006 after being harassed online through a MySpace account set up by 47-year-old Lori Drew.
After Missouri authorities concluded they could not charge Drew with any crime, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles decided to use a federal anti-hacking statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, to charge Drew with three felony counts of unauthorized access to MySpace's computers and one felony conspiracy count. Drew was acquitted of the three felony counts for unauthorized access but was convicted on three lesser misdemeanor charges of unauthorized access. A jury deadlocked on the fourth conspiracy charge.
Subsequently, Missouri lawmakers drafted legislation to outlaw threats or harassing communication that causes emotional distress. Under the law, perpetrators can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. In the three months since the law went into effect, Missouri authorities have brought charges against seven people, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.--Tanya Irwin