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Mo. woman faces 'cyberbullying' charge

Mo. woman faces 'cyberbullying' charge
Elizabeth Thrasher's mugshot.

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A Missouri judge says a woman accused of cyberharassment against a teenager will be tried, denying a motion to dismiss the felony charge.

Elizabeth Thrasher, 41, is the first defendant in St. Charles County to face a felony charge as a result of a law passed in 2008 following the suicide of Megan Meier, 13, the St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

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Meier was the victim of a MySpace hoax masterminded in part by an adult neighbor in a case that made international headlines.

Thrasher's attorney, Michael Kielty, had asked St. Charles County Circuit Judge Ted House to dismiss the charge, arguing the new law is unconstitutionally vague and violates free-speech rights.

Kielty has not disputed the basic allegations of the charge, involving a cyberspat between Thrasher and the 17-year-old daughter of her ex-husband's girlfriend.

When the daughter sent Thrasher an obscenity-laden text message telling her to "grow up," Thrasher retaliated in May 2009 by putting the teenager's photo, workplace, e-mail address and cellphone number on a section of Craigslist for people seeking sexual encounters.

The daughter received calls, e-mails, texts and pornography, authorities said.

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Thrasher's actions were a "sophomoric joke," not a crime, Kielty said.

The charge is a felony because Thrasher was 21 or older and the victim was 17 or younger, the Post-Dispatch said.

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