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Student Accused Of Setting Fire To Classmate In NYU Dorm, Recording It

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 20-year-old student was arraigned Monday on charges that he set a female classmate on fire in an NYU dorm, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Jaime Castano was arraigned Monday on charges of assault and reckless endangerment, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office. His bond was set at $50,000 in connection with the incident back last August.

An NYU student told the District Attorney's office she was in Castano's dorm room at 80 Lafayette St. with Castano and a third person, when she fell asleep around 11 p.m. Aug. 23, prosecutors said.

She woke up around 6 a.m. the following morning, and saw holes and burn marks to the comforter on her bed, burns on her clothes, and painful burn marks on her torso, prosecutors said.

Castano allegedly admitted to the woman that he set fire to the blanket and caused her injuries, which allegedly caused scars, prosecutors said.

Castano also allegedly admitted that he took a cellphone video showing the woman asleep in his bed with her clothes engulfed in flames while Castano sang, prosecutors said. The video also showed the woman waking up and trying to put out the flames while Castano recorded it, prosecutors said.

A New York Daily News report said Castano was expelled from NYU in September in connection with the incident.

NYU released a statement regarding the incident, saying:

"The University, from the outset, took this case very seriously. After the University was notified -- a few days after the incident occurred -- we rapidly pursued a disciplinary case that promptly led to the expulsion of the assailant.

"From the very beginning, the University spoke with the victim about involving the police. It has been the University's practice to give a significant degree of deference to a victim's wishes regarding involving law enforcement; when, after some time, the victim ultimately indicated a wish to go to the police, the University accompanied her.

"In retrospect, at least when the facts became clear, this case clearly should have been reported to the police, not withstanding the reluctance of the victim. We are conducting a full investigation as to how a different decision was made in this case and clarifying our decision-making process so that cases like this are reported to the police immediately in the future."


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