NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS 2) — CBS 2 has learned that the two students accused of broadcasting a classmate’s sexual encounter could face additional charges.
John Metaxas reports authorities are trying to determine whether bias played a role in the alleged crimes.
On Thursday authorities confirmed the worst, identifying the body of that student who was videotaped and then committed suicide.
The Rutgers campus is reeling.
On a grey day in New Brunswick the grieving was not yet over for Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, whose body, which was retrieved from the Hudson River, was officially identified.
At the state capitol in Trenton legislators observed a moment of silence for the 18-year-old, who leaped to his death off of the George Washington Bridge last week.
But the debate has already begun as to how responsible for his death are the two students arrested for placing a web cam in Clementi’s dorm room and broadcasting his romantic encounter with another man.
“There’s no getting around it. They’re responsible. And they are going to have to live with it the rest of their lives,” Rutgers senior Jack Murtha said.
“They’re definitely not responsible for him committing suicide because that was his own choice,” junior Nicolette Cobbold said.
Already there have been calls from at least one gay group to upgrade the charges against the students accused of deploying the web cam and streaming the video – 18-year-olds Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei. They are currently charged with invasion of privacy and could face up to five years in prison.
Some friends of Wei are apparently trying to shift blame to Ravi, writing on a newly created Facebook page: “Molly is being wrongfully accused of conspiring in this crime. This page does not support Dharun Ravi or any of his actions.”
At least one legal expert said upping the charges would be problematic.
“There would have to be specific evidence of knowledge by the actors that the victim, this boy, was vulnerable, had emotional problems, would likely and foreseeably react in the way he did,” lawyer Gerald Lefcourt said.
It’s the job of the legal system to sort out responsibility for this tragedy, but students here already have gotten a crash course in the subject of unintended consequences.
One Rutgers student said deploying the webcam was wrong, but there’s plenty of blame to spread around.
“I think they’re very responsible but who’s really responsible is our society for not making gays feel that they are as accepted in our society,” Laura Klobusicky said.