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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947

    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index
    Release No. 08-063

    May 15, 2008


    LOS ANGELES – A Missouri woman was indicted today on federal charges
    for fraudulently using an account on the social networking website
    to pose as a teenage boy who feigned romantic interest in a 13 year-old girl. That
    girl later committed suicide after the “boy” spurned her and told her, among other
    things, that the world would be a better place without her.

    Lori Drew, 49, of O’Fallon, Missouri, was named in a four-count indictment
    returned this morning by a federal grand jury. The indictment charges one count of
    conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without
    authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress on the girl who,
    because of juvenile privacy rules, is referred to in the indictment only as M.T.M.

    The indictment alleges that Drew, along with others, registered as a member
    of MySpace under the name “Josh Evans.” Drew and her co-conspirators then
    used the Josh Evans account to contact M.T.M. and began what the girl believed
    was an on-line romance with a 16-year-old boy. In taking those actions, the
    indictment alleges, Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace’s “terms of
    service” (TOS) that prohibit users from, among other things, using fraudulent
    registration information, using accounts to obtain personal information about
    juvenile members, and using the MySpace communication services to harass,
    abuse or harm other members.

    After approximately four weeks of flirtatious communications between “Josh
    Evans” and M.T.M., Drew and her co-conspirators broke off the relationship.
    Within an hour, M.T.M. had hanged herself in her room. She died the next day.
    “This adult woman allegedly used the Internet to target a young teenage girl,
    with horrendous ramifications,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien.
    “After a thorough investigation, we have charged Ms. Drew with criminally
    accessing MySpace and violating rules established to protect young, vulnerable
    people. Any adult who uses the Internet or a social gathering website to bully or
    harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realize that their
    actions can have serious consequences.”

    To become a member of MySpace, individuals are required to submit
    registration information – including name and date of birth – and have to agree to
    certain TOS that regulate their use of the website. Among other things, the
    MySpace TOS require prospective members to provide truthful and accurate
    registration information; to refrain from using any information obtained from
    MySpace services to harass, abuse, or harm other people; to refrain from soliciting
    personal information from anyone under 18; to refrain from promoting information
    that they know is false or misleading; and to refrain from posting photographs of
    other people without their consent. The indictment alleges that Drew and her coconspirators violated all of those provisions.

    “Whether we characterize this tragic case as ‘cyber-bullying,’ cyber abuse or
    illegal computer access, it should serve as a reminder that our children use the
    internet for social interaction and that technology has altered the way they conduct
    their daily activities,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the
    FBI in Los Angeles. “As adults, we must be sensitive to the potential dangers
    posed by the use of the Internet by our children.”

    The conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in
    federal prison. Each count of accessing protected computers, each of which
    alleges that the access was for the purpose of intentionally inflicting emotional
    distress on M.T.M., carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.
    Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

    Drew will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in United States
    District Court in Los Angeles in June.

    This case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of
    Investigation in St. Louis and Los Angeles.


    Release No. 08-063
    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index