Lawyers: Student charged in Rutgers case innocent

by Samantha Henry
Wednesday Oct 6, 2010

Lawyers for one of the two Rutgers University students accused of secretly webcasting the sex life of a fellow freshman who later committed suicide said Tuesday that their client is innocent.

Prosecutors have charged Molly Wei, of Princeton, and fellow Rutgers freshman Dharun Ravi of Plainsboro, both 18, with invasion of privacy for allegedly using a webcam to broadcast the encounter between Ravi's roommate, 18-year-old freshman Tyler Clementi, and a man who hasn't been identified.

Clementi jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River three days later. His death has led to nationwide soul-searching over the plight of gay teenagers and to mourning on the Rutgers campus. Prosecutors are weighing whether to charge Wei and Ravi with a hate crime.

Attorneys for Wei released a statement Tuesday extending sympathy to the Clementi family and saying Wei was innocent.

"This is a tragic situation. But this tragedy has also unfairly led to rampant speculation and misinformation, which threaten to overwhelm the actual facts of the matter," the statement said. "Those true facts will reveal that Molly Wei is innocent. Molly committed no crime. Her remarkable reputation is being unjustly tarnished by uninformed and incorrect assumptions."

Describing Wei as "a wonderful, caring and talented young woman with a bright future," the statement said the firestorm surrounding the charges were "a classic rush to judgment," adding Wei had been "maligned by unfounded attacks on her character."

"Neither Molly nor anyone else should be used to further the agenda of others," the statement said.

Lawyers for Ravi haven't returned calls seeking comment, including a message left Tuesday evening.

Ravi and Wei could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the invasion-privacy charges. A spokesman for the Middlesex County prosecutor's office told The Associated Press on Tuesday that no decision had been made on possible additional charges.

Middlesex County prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said at a news conference Monday that he wouldn't rush the investigation.

"We need to determine the facts and then determine what the applicable law is," he said.

Clementi's family has said little about his death.

"We understand that our family's personal tragedy presents important legal issues for the country as well as for us," the family said in a statement last week. "Our hope is that our family's personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity."

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  • , 2010-10-06 08:42:38

    Molly Wei and fellow Rutgers freshman Dharun Ravi are both guilty of this horrific hate crime! If Molly is the Girl Scout her attorney says she is, then why is it that the computer used was in her apartment, with her watching it, hence her standing/sitting there! She’s as guilty as he is! If you do the the time...and they should both do ALOT more than FIVE years for what they’ve both done!!!

  • Milwaukeeguy, 2010-10-06 14:18:02

    I agree. Why was little missy Molly watching this anyway? What was the motive? I mean can gay people ever get justice in this world?! - little missy Molly secretly webcast this encounter...yeah, that’s a wonderful, caring and talented woman!How many other secrets does little Missy Molly have on her computer? Let’s look under little Missy Molly’s skirts and see what her secrets are!

  • BGDad, 2010-10-06 23:08:44

    I don’t think it really matters if this case is treated as a hate crime or not. The sweet justice here is that they used technology to commit this despicable invasion of privacy and it will be technology that will ruin their futures. Every time a prospective school, employer, girlfriend, or boyfriend puts their names into a browser, their cruel acts will be revealed. Their futures were bright but now they are the same as Tyler Clementi’s--dead.

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