Re: Prosecutor in Myspace case:No charges
- From: "Chocolic" <chatter448@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2007 00:53:37 GMT
"ItsJustMe" <ells9824@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:kQV4j.75586$YL5.60008@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Monday, St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas addressed the media in St. Charles, and the media around the world, when he announced there will be no charges filed in the MySpace suicide case of Megan Meier.
Banas said there are no charges that could be applied under current law. He also said, "I think you have a lot of facts that have gone out across this country that are a misstatement of facts."
According to Banas, the fake MySpace page was not created by the mother of one of Megan's friends who she had a falling out with. The fake MySpace page was actually created by an 18-year-old employee of that mother, though the mother knew about the page.
For the first several weeks of the MySpace page, under the fake name of a 16-year-old boy named Josh, the conversation was friendly, with no indication of negativity, said Banas.
The messages were being sent by the 18-year-old and by the neighbor's daughter.
Then, said Banas, the password was given to another teenage girl. That girl sent messages to Megan saying that she (pretending to be Josh) had heard Megan was mean, and that she (pretending to be Josh) did not want to be her friend.
The 18-year-old did not know about the messages, Banas said, when she got back on the MySpace page.
"The young lady who was working for the [neighbors] did start sending messages back to Josh, through Josh, back to Megan. When she did, she got responses back from Megan questioning why he was being nice," when he had been mean just days before.
At that point, Banas says, the 18-year-old went back through the previous conversations, saw the negative messages, and wrote some negative messages of her own. She also wrote that "Josh" would not reveal who had said Megan was mean.
Megan then engaged several other girls with MySpace pages to try to determine who had told "Josh" that she was mean. Those girls sent a flurry of messages that were largely negative.
It was after this exchange that the 18-year-old typed, "This world would be a better place without you." That was the last statement from "Josh."
When Megan Meier's mother came home, she found Megan crying at her computer. Mrs. Meier looked at the conversation, and told Megan not to use such language, said Banas. He also said that Megan then told her mother that she couldn't believe her mother was taking "their side." Megan then ran upstairs. A short time later, she had killed herself.
Banas says there are some facts that are not disputed by the people involved, but that there are other disputed facts. He says the 18-year-old told different stories.
"The 18-year-old told another story to the Meier family lawyer, that she was yelling to [the neighbor] what she was typing," said Banas. "She later told the FBI that [the neighbor] was not present, that they later told her what was going on, but said that [the neighbor's husband] was there." Both of the adults deny being there at the time the final messages were being sent.
However, Banas said, the neighbor "admits she had been present on several occasions when her daughter was sending messages," but not on the final two days when the messages were sent.
Banas said he looked at all of the applicable state laws. The statute on harassment does not include Internet activity, he says. The statute on stalking does include the Internet and other forms of communications, but he says the key is the intent. Because the MySpace page was set up to find out what Megan may have been saying about her former friend, and because the first several weeks of messages were not negative, Banas says prosecutors could not prove that the intent of the MySpace page was to cause harm to Megan.
"The undisputed fact is that the intention and the purpose in creating this and the purpose of the conversation going back and forth was so that they could find out what Megan was saying about [the neighbor's] daughter."
"Their purpose was never to cause her emotional harassment that we can prove," said Banas.
Banas did say that any reports that there was sexual content involved in the conversations are erroneous. He said there was never any sexual content in the MySpace conversations.
However, he also said several times that any adult who knew what was going on should have done something. "There is no question the adult should have said something to stop this," said Banas. He also said several other teenage girls apparently knew what was going on, but did not tell Megan. He does not know if the parents of those girls also knew, but said any adults who did should have done something.
Banas said the prosecutors were never brought a case until the Meier's family attorneys contacted federal prosecutors, and the FBI began its investigation.
"When I was called by a local reporter and asked about this case, there was never an investigative case brought to my office, so I could not say whether it was or was not a crime," said Banas.
As part of the investigation, the St. Charles County Prosecutor's office talked with several people, but not with the 18-year-old girl who actually did most of the typing and created the page.
"The 18-year-old girl that has been involved in this case has been hospitalized and is under psychiatric care. Her psychiatrist would not allow us to talk to her, and understandably so," said Banas.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
when first we practise to deceive!...."
Wow, what a chain of events.