Medical records sought of girl in MySpace bullying case

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | 2:09 p.m. CDT; updated 5:26 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 20, 2008


ST. LOUIS - A lawyer representing a woman accused of having a role in a MySpace hoax that allegedly led a 13-year-old girl to commit suicide is seeking the girl's mental health records, claiming a medication switch shortly before her death may have caused her suicide.

Documents filed Tuesday in federal court in California seek medical and mental health records for Megan Meier.

In those court papers, attorney Dean Steward claims the Missouri teen attempted suicide at least once before her death on Oct. 17, 2006, an allegation her family has denied. Steward said she suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, and was under the care of a mental health professional at the time of her death.

The legal filing also says that the person who presided at Megan's memorial service said the girl's medication was changed just before her death. Megan's mother has said the girl was depressed and suffered from ADD, but had not attempted suicide previously. Tina Meier did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in California, Thom Mrozek, said the office had no immediate comment but would file a legal reply.

In May, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted 49-year-old Lori Drew, a neighbor of Megan and her family in the Missouri community of Dardenne Prairie. Drew is accused of one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress. Drew has pleaded not guilty.

The case was filed in Los Angeles because MySpace's servers are in Los Angeles County. MySpace is owned by News Corp.

Authorities have alleged Drew, Drew's teenage daughter and another teen took part in an online hoax, creating a fake boy named "Josh Evans" on the MySpace social networking site who befriended and flirted with Megan online. Drew allegedly wanted to know what Megan was saying about her own daughter online. Shortly before Megan's death, the comments from "Josh" and some other Internet users turned cruel, with "Josh" allegedly saying the world would be better without Megan. Drew's attorneys have denied she sent any of the messages.

In a filing earlier this month, prosecutors alleged Drew discussed using the information Megan provided over the Internet to humiliate her "in the real world." She allegedly proposed luring Megan to a mall to reveal that "Josh" didn't exist and taunt her "with the contents of her MySpace page."

They also alleged she wanted her employee, Ashley Grills, and Drew's daughter to find out what happened when emergency crews responded to Megan's house the night Megan hanged herself, and then called a neighborhood girl who had also sent Megan an unkind Internet message, telling her "to keep her mouth shut" and "to stay off the MySpace."

A call to Drew's lawyer seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.



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