It appears less and less likely that any sort of charges will be filed against Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, the Rutger’s students whose alleged posting of an intimate video caused the suicide of Ravi’s roommate and fellow student, Tyler Clementi.
In a statement released today, Wei’s attorneys have said, “Molly is a wonderful, caring and talented young woman with a bright future. That future is being threatened by unfounded attacks upon her character…This classic rush to judgment ignores Molly’s basic right to fairness and presumption of innocence. We can only hope, for everyone’s sake, that the truth will not be forever lost in the process…Neither Molly nor anyone else should be used to further the agenda of others”
Gay activist have asked for hate crimes charges against the two rather than the current charges of violation of privacy. Without the hate crime charges, neither Ravi nor Wei are ever likely to face any jail time. Writes the legal blog whitecollarcrimenews.com, “New Jersey has a presumption against imprisonment for first offenders convicted of third and fourth degree crimes. That means it is almost impossible for them to go to prison. This is why the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is doing everything they can to tack on the bias charge. That would be a second degree charge that has a presumption of imprisonment which means it is almost 100% certain that they will go to prison. I think that they are going to have a tough time bringing this charge against them although public pressure is immense for them to go to prison.”
But the hate crime charges may not stick: Middlesex Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan says there may not be enough evidence to charge the two.
Even if they escape legal consequences, Ravi and Wei may still be expelled from Rutgers, where spying on another student is violation of student conduct policy. Ironically, Rutgers officials refuse to comment on the status of the two students, citing privacy rights of Ravi and Wei.