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The most thorough article to date on the decision not to prosecute

Steve Pokin, the journalist who broke the original Megan Meier story, published an account today of the decision not to press charges.

Some of the things in the article trouble me.It troubles me that Jack Banas interviewed Lori Drew and perhaps Curt Drew, but didn’t interview Ron Meier at all, and talked only briefly with Tina Meier.

His justification: He has a property destruction case pending against Ron Meier. In a way that’s considerate of him–he could have used the opportunity to get Meier to testify against himself–but I can think of one way around the problem. Interview Meier with his attorney present, so that if Meier were to start to incriminate himself, his attorney could cut him off.

If I can come up with this workaround, then a prosecuting attorney ought to be able to as well.

It bothers me that each time something Drew said contradicted the many news reports that have been written, it means the news reports are wrong. It was obvious from the very first police report that Drew was trying to cover her tracks–in the report, she stated that somehow others were able to get access to the Myspace account and send messages to Megan. That’s an indirect quote, but it’s pretty close to the wording in the report.

The Meiers’ story has been remarkably consistent, even when they are visibly exhausted. The police reports on Smoking Gun aren’t forthcoming, and they aren’t consistent with what Drew is saying now.

I know from personal experience that when a traumatic event happens, your memory of it is generally very good–nearly photographic. Sometimes people refer to them as “flashbulb” events for that very reason. I can tell you every little detail about the car crash I was in four years ago, just as plainly as it happened yesterday.

So if someone has difficulty consistently recounting the events of a flashbulb incident, that suggests to me that he or she is lying.

I don’t know about law enforcement in St. Charles, but in journalism, if I’d ever come to one of my editors with an important story and I only interviewed one side, and I relied solely on two old interviews of one of the other participants (Ashley Grills), something bad would have happened next. Really bad.

For that matter, Grills and Drew dispute whose idea it was to create the account. Each say it was the other. Both women had different reactions to Megan Meier’s suicide. Drew felt less guilty after she heard Meier had attempted suicide before. Grills threatened suicide herself and ended up getting psychiatric treatment.

All of that is solid evidence that Grills has a conscience, ability to feel guilt, and knowledge of right and wrong.

Both Grills and Drew have track records of deceit and changing the story afterward. So which liar should you believe?

The safer bet is to believe the one with a conscience. She’s less likely to lie now.

Finally, I take issue with Banas’ statement that Drew never intended to “harm, stalk, endanger or harass.”

The police report Drew filed last year stated that some of the communication was of sexual nature.

Let me ask a question. If it turned out that Michael Devlin had made such a statement, would Devlin be in court right now, facing charges of harassment?

If it’s harassment if Michael Devlin does it, then it’s harassment if Lori Drew does it. Period.

Besides that, in a story published in The Age, an Australian newspaper, a neighbor states that Lori Drew told her about the fake account, laughed about it, and said she would “mess with Megan.”

So an Australian journalist halfway around the world found someone willing to say this was intentional harassment. Yet Banas won’t give this neighbor’s testimony equal weight with the testimony of an already established liar and deceiver.

I don’t live in St. Charles County but a friend of mine does. He tells me Banas has three more years in office.

This is precisely what recall elections are for. If you live in St. Charles County and see a recall petition, sign it. If you don’t see one, call the St. Charles Election Authority at 636-949-7550 and ask how to start one.

And failing that, I wholeheartedly endorse whoever is running against Banas for St. Charles County Prosecutor in 2010. Whoever that might be.

I’m sure I have company.

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