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Judge dismisses case against cyber bully

LOS ANGELES, July 2 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Los Angeles Thursday dismissed charges against Lori Drew, the Missouri woman whose online deception had been blamed for a teenager's suicide.

U.S. District Judge George Wu said the three misdemeanor counts Drew was convicted of would apply to anyone who violated a Web site's terms of service statement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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Drew, 50, was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. Wu had postponed the sentencing in May, saying he needed more time to consider a defense motion to dismiss the charges.

Drew was allegedly involved in creating a fictitious character on MySpace, "Josh Evans," who befriended Megan Meier, 13, a neighbor of Drew's in suburban St. Louis and a former friend of Drew's daughter. "Josh" eventually turned on Megan, and she hanged herself after receiving a message: "The world would be a better place without you."

Prosecutors and Megan's parents asked Wu in May for a 3-year sentence, citing Drew's "callousness" and the deadly consequences of her behavior. Drew had also been charged with felony conspiracy, but was acquitted.

After Megan's suicide, prosecutors in Missouri found no laws covering online bullying or harassment. Drew was charged in Los Angeles because MySpace is headquartered in Southern California.

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