"People need to realize that this is 100% not okay, that you're going to go to jail," said Meier.
||A law banning fake identities used online "to harass someone or solicit sex" has yet to be passed.|
According to task force member and MySpace lobbyist William Guidera, "Internet companies [support] passage of a law that makes it illegal for someone to lie about their age when setting up a sexual encounter online." However, a law banning fake identities used online "to harass someone or solicit sex" has yet to be passed.
The task force, which is made up of legislators, academics, and law enforcement officers, does hope to draft a new law in January. But "any law proposed by the task force would likely build upon existing legislation," said chairman Mark James.
Meier's daughter, Megan, committed suicide in October 2006 after friend "Josh Evans" began taunting her on MySpace.
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"Megan just always felt like she wasn't wanted or accepted enough. And that was the hardest thing to try to get her to just be herself," said Meier.
Megan appeared happy when she and Josh first became friends. However, his compliments soon turned ugly, and soon Josh was berating Megan for being unkind to her friends. Others began taunting Megan. Then, on the day Josh wrote, "The world would be better off without Megan," she committed suicide.
What became of Josh Evans? Nothing. He was a fictional character.
The fake account of Josh Evans was monitored by Ashley Grills, an 18-year-old employee of a woman named Lori Drew. Grills and a neighborhood friend created "Josh" to watch Megan's gossip. Drew, who is the neighborhood friend's mother, knew of the account and participated in parts of it; however, she was unaware of the hurtful messages "Josh" was sending Megan. And because there's not enough evidence to prove that the messages put Megan at any risk, Drew cannot be charged for child endangerment.
"I'm disappointed that there's going to be no prosecution," Meier admitted to ABC News. "There deserves to be criminal charges here."
However, according to Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson, "There are some hard hurdles to constitutional requirements of what the state must prove to put someone in jail."