Prosecutors Bringing Charges Under Law Inspired by Megan Meier Suicide

The girl allegedly received voice messages calling her names such as "pork and beans" and threatening her with rape, Doss said. The girl also had eggs and pork and beans thrown on her car, though Williams was not charged with that.

Williams, who is scheduled to be arraigned next month, told police she let her friends use her phone, according to court documents.

Williams' lawyer, Michael Kielty, criticized the law, saying, "What it effectively does is take behavior that would otherwise be legal and criminalize it because of the medium.

"The other problem we have with these statutes is you may have a device or e-mail address and any number of people can have access to the device or address and you don't know who did it, and I think that's the case here," he said.

Others who study cyberbullying also questioned whether the new spate of laws would be effective, saying public awareness of the issue would be more important than criminal cases.

"Convictions aren't going to do a thing," said Nancy Willard, director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet.

"We absolutely should not think that focusing on criminalization of behavior is going to protect young people. If we want to prevent these situations, we have got to empower kids and parents to realize what the risks are and how not to get into a risky situation," she said.

Aftab said many of the cyberbullying laws merely criminalize harassment that would otherwise be illegal if done over the phone or using other technology.

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