A US woman has been charged following a cyberbullying campaign that caused a 13-year old girl to commit suicide.
Lori Drew, 49, is accused of impersonating a 16 year-old boy, Josh Evans, through a fake MySpace profile and luring neighbour Megan Meier into an online romance.
Drew then abruptly ended the romance and sent Meier a number of cruel messages including one saying the world would be a better place without her. Meier hung herself in the closet of her bedroom one hour after Drew ended the relationship.
US prosecutors claim Drew impersonated Evans in a bid to find out what Meier, who lived in the same street, was saying about her daughter following a falling out. It is also alleged that Drew deleted the hoax MySpace account and warned a girl who knew about it to "keep her mouth shut".
Drew has been charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorisation to get information used to inflict emotional distress on the girl. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years and if convicted Drew faces up to 20 years in prison.
"Any adult who uses the internet or social gathering website to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realise that their actions can have serious consequences," said US Attorney Thomas O'Brien
MySpace issued a statement saying it "does not tolerate cyberbullying" and was cooperating fully with the US attorney.
The 49-year-old denies creating the account or sending messages to Megan.