NEWARK, N.J. (CBS/AP) While prosecutors weigh additional charges against two Rutgers University students accused of broadcasting live images of fellow freshman Tyler Clementi in a gay sexual encounter, attorneys for Molly Wei, one of accused, say their client is innocent.
Wei's attorneys said in a statement Tuesday that she is "a wonderful, caring and talented young woman with a bright future." They claim that she has been maligned by unfounded attacks on her character.After the online broadcast, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death.
Dharun Ravi, Clementi's roommate, was charged along with Wei with two counts of invasion of privacy last week. The state's Attorney General, Paula Dow, said investigators were exploring adding hate crime charges; however, the current New Jersey law may not adequately address the circumstances behind Clementi's death, according to CBS station WCBS.
Middlesex County prosecutors say the pair, both 18, used a webcam to secretly transmit a live image of Clementi having sex with a man on Sept. 19 and that Ravi tried to webcast a second encounter on Sept. 21, the day before Clementi's suicide.
"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 said he would rather be "right" than "expedient" when asked whether there would be a specific timeline for bringing additional charges.
Under New Jersey's privacy law it is a crime to transmit or even view images that depict nudity or sexual contact with an individual without that person's consent, reports WCBS. Collecting or viewing sexual images without consent is a fourth-degree crime. Transmitting them is a third-degree crime with a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Both Ravi and Wei could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
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