Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pray for Megan Meier

Megan Meier was the ebullient, quirky 13-year old daughter to Ron and Tina Meier from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, a community of 7,000 close to St. Louis. According to the CNN article, she liked hanging out with her friends and liked going fishing with her dad, Ron. Still, she suffered from depression, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and was on medication. For the better part of September, 2006, Megan had corresponded with Josh Evans on MySpace. Josh was a teenager who had recently moved to the area from Florida. Josh was homeschooled, and they seemed to be hitting it off pretty well.

Megan even went so far as to tell her folks about an affectionate note she got from Josh. On October 15th, 2006, Megan received a message from Josh saying rather abruptly that he didn't want to be her friend anymore, and that he had heard she wasn't nice to her friends. Josh went off on a tirade saying she was a slut and that she was fat. Megan told her her mom. Her mom had apparently been monitoring her online activity and was upset about her vulgar language and behavior. Her father tried to comfort her and said that everything was going to be alright.

She was found in her bedroom 20 minutes later. Megan had hung herself, and she died the next day. Her father found a message from Josh saying that she was a bad person and the world would be better off without her. Law enforcement officials had not been able to backtrack the message, because Josh Evans never existed.

Six weeks later in a counselor's office, another mother had confessed that she created the "Josh Evans" profile on MySpace to gain Megan's confidence and learn what she was saying about her kid. The mother, her daughter, and another person all had corresponded with Megan as "Josh Evans." The mother has not been charged with any crime. I'll repeat that. The mother has not been charged with any crime.

Ron and Tina Meier have since separated and they plan to divorce. An ordinance relevant to child endangerment and internet harassment is set to come before Dardenne Prairie city officials next week. THE MOTHER HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME.

There's something massively fucked up when a twisted bitch wants to destroy a young girl simply to see what she's saying about her kid. More details are coming out as stated in this story in The O'Fallon Journal. There's something even more fucked up when MySpace's boilerplate position has been that users have to be at least 14 years of age to create a profile. Too bad for Megan, eh? I'm all for net neutrality, and I find it grossly questionable when media conglomerates demand the removal of content from sites like YouTube due to copyright infringement, and yet it would take the considerable bad publicity of Megan Meier's suicide to make MySpace and its corporate pimps at News Corp. understand that MySpace is ripe with abuse. Then again, I'm probably overestimating the assclowns at News Corp and MySpace.

My heart goes out to Ron and Tina Meier. I hope they get through this tragedy, and I pray they and Megan get justice.


Danny Vice said...

Ms. Drew played directly on the sensitivities she knew would cause maximum damage to the Megan. Ms. Drew lured Megan in a way she knew would be most devastating to the child.

This wicked MOA Drew used is the exact methodology that a child predator employs to bait, lure and reel a child victim into doing their will. Child grooming was utilized over weeks and weeks to gain the child's trust... and once trust was obtained, she exploited it into a relationship. (Another Child Predator Hallmark).

When Ms. Drew saw her bullets were hitting it's mark, she turned up the heat. She invited others to partake in the sick, twisted mental assault on this child, keeping the pressure up. Even her business employee joined in the game.

Ms. Drew then delivered the final blow that many depressed 13 year old girls would crumble under.

She mentally raped the child and left her for dead. Better said, encouraged her for dead.

Ms. Drew remains smug and defiant about her actions - even seeks to attack this grieving family while their beloved daughter's memory is fresh in their mind.

She has committed the unthinkable.... and doesn't even acknowledge she abused this child.

Child Predators go to jail for their actions. Physical contact is not required for a conviction. Evidence of any kind of sexually charged grooming of a child by an adult is worthy of a charge of indecent liberties with a child.... or at the very least harassment.

If even assisted suicide is criminal intent, driving someone to it should at least qualify as something more heinous than an ordinary parking ticket.

Danny Vice

Seoul Brother said...

Very well said, Danny. It's possible that Lori Drew, her daughter, and the 18-year old employee you mentioned were all in on it from the beginning, because the risk of getting caught as part of a scheme of this nature is pretty high if someone lets a detail slip. After all the Drews live down the street from the Meiers. As far as I can tell, it has not been established if Megan Meier had engaged in cybersex with "Josh Evans," the MySpace identity created by Lori Drew, her daughter, and her 18-year old employee.

I think this was a carefully crafted scheme, and at best, Lori Drew could say that she did not know that Megan Meier would commit suicide. The intent to harm was clearly there, but as I understand, this wasn't a punishable offense because cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking haven't been defined as crimes at the state/local or federal levels.

There has been some outrage about the fact that for over a year, Curt and Lori Drew have been targeted with everything from fake 911 calls to a brick through the window. While legally obtainable, their personal and work addresses and phone numbers (including cell phones) have been widely dispersed by cyber-vigilantes. Someone even went so far as to list every company that The Drew Advantage, Lori Drew's company, does business with so that others can call and write them to say that they do business with Lori Drew at their peril.

There are two methods to approach this: 1) work within the system, and 2) prison justice. I called up the offices of my US Senators, and the staff I spoke with were both unaware of the details of what had happened. You can call and email your congressional representatives to demand what they are going to do to make sure that nobody else has to die like Megan Meier. This has the opportunity to be something profoundly important - "Megan's Law."

"Prison Justice" refers to the fact that the one thing that unites fractious prison communities is their hatred of an inmate with "short eyes" - someone who has preyed on a child. That will get an inmate brutally murdered. Right now, the best thing to do is to put pressure on their community and all that know them that Curt and Lori Drew are evil.

Law enforcement officials have two choices. They can either prosecute them and establish clear precedence of cyber-sexual abuse, or they can sit back and watch vigilantes go to work on Curt and Lori Drew. I would not shed a tear to learn that Lori Drew was driven to eating a bullet, but we have to think of the long term. I don't want to see another child die.

We have a great opportunity to tell our elected officials that we are angry as Hell about this, and we demand that "Megan's Law" be established toot sweet. The willful manipulation of another person in non-consensual behavior in online communities needs to be defined as a felony.

Danny Vice said...

On Wednesday, October 21st, city officials enacted an ordinance designed to address the public outcry for justice in the Megan Meier tragedy. The six member Board of Aldermen made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

Does this new law provide any justice for Megan? Does this law provide equitable relief for a future victim or actually weaken the current law?

I reject the premise of this new law and believe it completely misses the mark. The reasoning behind this opinion is that city officials have consistently treated this case as an Internet harassment case instead of a child welfare/exploitation case.

Classifying this case a harassment issue completely fails to address the most serious aspects of the methods Lori Drew employed to lead this youth to her demise. The Vice disagrees that harassment was even a factor in this case until just a couple of days before Megan's death.

Considering this case a harassment issue is incorrect because during the 5 weeks Lori Drew baited and groomed her victim, the attention was NOT unwanted attention. It was not harassment at all. It was invited attention. Megan participated in the conversations willingly because she was lured, manipulated and exploited without her knowledge.

This law willfully sets a precedent that future child exploiters and predators can use to reclassify their cases to harassment issues. In effect, the law enacted to give Megan justice, may make her even more vulnerable. So long as the child victim doesn't tell the predator to stop, even a harassment charge may not stick with the right circumstances and a good defender.

Every aspect of this case follows the same procedural requirement used to convict a Child Predator. A child was manipulated by an adult. A child was engaged in sexually explicit conversation (as acknowledged by Lori Drew herself). An adult imposed her will on a child by misleading her, using a profile designed to sexually or intimately attract the 13 year old Megan.

Lori then utilized the power she had gained over this child to cause significant distress and endangerment to that child. She even stipulated to many of these activities in the police report she filed shortly after Megan's death.

We can go on and on here, but the parallels between this case and many other child predator cases that are successfully prosecuted bear striking similarities.

Child Predator laws do not require much more than simply proving that an adult has engaged a minor in sexually explicit conversation. Lori Drew has already stipulated that her conversations with Megan were sometimes sexual for a child Megan's age.

City officials who continue to ignore this viable, documented admission and continue to address this issue as harassment are intentionally burying their heads in the sand, when the solution is staring them right in the face. Why?

On June 5th, 2006, Governor Matt Blunt signed into law stiff penalties for convicted sex offenders. The Vice believes that officials continually reject a child predator classification of this case in order to keep the penalty of this offense out of this harsher realm.

Opponents of this law are active in defeating this law not by changing it, but by disqualifying cases like Megan's from ever being heard.

There are several other child exploitation laws on the books. To date, none of them have even been considered by City, State and Federal officials in this case. I'm outraged that a motion was never even filed, so that the case could at least be argued before a judge or jury.

Those satisfied with this response out of Missouri officials need to think through the effect this law will truly have. It quite honestly has the potential to directly undermine Jessica's law. It quiet easily gives prosecutors a way out of prosecuting child endangerment and child predator cases in the future.

Beware the wolf in sheep's clothing here.

Danny Vice

Seoul Brother said...

While I would not shed a tear to learn that those responsible for Megan Meier's death met with grisly, protracted, and very public deaths themselves, I feel there are two things we can do at this stage to make sure that Megan receives justice:

1) Boycott the Drews and anybody who conducts business with them. Getting the Drews' home and work information has been rather easy, and we as concerned individuals can make damn sure that even if you'd never think of going anywhere near a particular business, that you're going to avoid them like the plague for as long as they do business with the Drews. I have to stress the importance of being civil and polite.

2) Call, email, and write your elected officials. If you can afford the time it takes to surf the web, you have the time to contact your elected officials from the state and local level all the way up to your representatives in Congress. While you probably will not be able to speak directly with these individuals, make damn sure they know that you are angry and saddened by Megan Meier's tragic death, and that you demand justice. Again - be civil and polite.

You're absolutely right, Danny. The current state of affairs with laws designed to combat sexual predators is ridiculously ineffective. Andrew Vachss is a man I respect greatly. He is a passionate lawyer crusading for children's rights and protecting children in sex abuse cases. I am doing him a gross disservice by paraphrasing his work so ineffectively, and I consider him not only one of my heroes, but a real-life superhero. After I wrote him for his thoughts on this matter, he said that he could not comment on an investigation in progress and that he needed all the facts before providing analysis. We should all be so wise, and keep in mind that he is Holy War dedicated to fighting for children. Mr. Vachss made the strong suggestion that if we want to do something to help, he asked that we join Protect, The National Association to Protect Children.