Accused Rutgers Students Did Not See Tyler Clementi Have Sex, Say Attorneys
Molly Wei and Dharun Ravi's lawyers argue that the two didn't break the law
Despite conflicting reports about what transpired between Tyler Clementi and an unidentified male in September, the pair did not have “sexual contact” as defined under New Jersey law – and their encounter didn’t get taped or broadcast on the Internet – according to attorneys for the two defendants.
“I’m unaware of any evidence of sexual contact or that video was received, reproduced or disseminated in any way,” says Rubin Sinins, an attorney for Molly Wei, one of two Rutgers University students charged with invasion of privacy in the case that led to Clementi’s jumping to his death off the George Washington Bridge.
Steven Altman, an attorney for the other defendant, Dharun Ravi, could not be reached for comment, but he did tell Newark’s Star-Ledger that the truth will come out when forensic evidence from all the seized computers is made public.
“Nothing was transmitted beyond one computer and what was seen was only viewed for a matter of seconds,” the newspaper quotes Altman as saying.
On Sept. 19, Ravi allegedly placed a webcam in the room they shared at Rutgers, then later Tweeted that he saw his roommate “making out with a dude.”
The invasion of privacy charge faced by Ravi and Wei, both 18, is defined in New Jersey as viewing “images depicting nudity or sexual contact involving another individual without that person’s consent.” However, Sinins says “sexual contact” is defined under state law as contact involving “intimate parts,” so kissing does not fall into that category.
Last week, both Ravi and Wei withdrew from Rutgers.
James O’Neill, a spokesman for Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan, declined comment on the charges against Wei and Ravi, saying, “The investigation is ongoing.”