Prosecutors Mull Additional Charges In Rutgers Death
NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880/CBS 2) — While Rutgers students mourn the freshman who committed suicide after his roommate allegedly posted a video of him having sex with another man, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has been looking into whether they could file more charges against the pair accused of spying.
However, the current New Jersey law may not adequately address the tragic circumstances behind Tyler Clementi’s death, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
“I’m unaware of any case in New Jersey where the homicide statutes have been used to hold somebody responsible for somebody else who chose to commit suicide,” Middlesex Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.
Kaplan has already filed invasion of privacy charges against Rutgers students Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei.
The state’s Attorney General, Paula Dow, said investigators were exploring adding hate crime charges, WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reported.
“Most importantly, I think we’re looking at examining the facts,” Dow said.
Kaplan said he would rather be “right” than “expedient” when asked whether there would be a specific timeline for bringing additional charges.
Prosecutors say Ravi and Wei used a webcam to broadcast live images of Clementi having the intimate encounter.
Clementi, a promising violinist, jumped off the George Washington Bridge and into the Hudson River. His body was recovered and identified last week.
Students at the Rutgers Newark campus remembered Clementi Monday with a candlelight vigil.
“To take a step that is that extreme at such a young age, even here with me…I can’t imagine being in that position,” student John Wahlmeir told CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey.
“It’s so sad to see someone have to go through that, someone on our own same level, someone part of our own community,” student Liz Fisher said.
Although the harassment took place on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, students here in Newark felt the need to come together, feeling Clementi’s pain despite not knowing the 18-year old.
“I’m sad at the whole situation, I wish that more students knew who they can turn to,” student Donovan Linder said.
Earlier Monday, Rutgers’ gay community held a closed door forum where inside both gay and straight students discussed tolerance, discrimination, and a long standing bias some say was underscored by what Ravi and Wei are accused of doing.
“We’re the ones that are hurting because other people can’t accept who we are inside,” Justine Powell said.
While some say it’s sad that it took a suicide to bring the community together, they hope this is just the first step towards change along with a greater appreciation of differences.