Rutgers suspect admitted into probation-like program

May 6, 2011 2:20:19 PM PDT
For the first time since Rutgers student Tyler Clementi jumped to his death, his parents spoke publicly.

"All actions have consequences," Joe Clementi said. "We are here to witness this criminal proceeding on Tyler's behalf, on our own behalf and on behalf of the many people through the country and the world who are following this case, who are concerned that there be accountability for violation for basic standards of human behavior."

In September, Tyler committed suicide, prosecutors say, after his roommate Darun Ravi and a friend, 19-year-old Molly Wei of West Windsor, set up a webcam to capture of Tyler and another young man involved in an intimate.

Clementi killed himself days later by jumping off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River. The suicide sparked a national conversation about bullying, particularly attacks endured by young gays and lesbians.

In court, a very quiet, stoic wei faced a judge and entered into what is called a pre trial intervention.

Under the terms, she will complete 300 hours of community service and testify against Ravi.

A pretrial intervention is used in many cases in which the defendants have no criminal records and are charged with low-level crimes, but there was one slightly unusual feature to Wei's deal.

Most often, people in the program will have charges dropped in one year. In Wei's case, she has to meet conditions for the maximum three years.

"Molly was unfortunately brought into this. Whether there is some good that comes out of this, bullying or anti homophobia, then that's fine, but Molly Wei should not be the poster child for this," defense attorney Eric Kahn said.

Clementi's parents watched from the back row of the small courtroom.

Cast as advocates for protecting young gays, they said they accepted Wei's agreement, which a judge approved Friday.

Prosecutors said that the man Clementi was with, identified in court papers only as M.B., was also consulted.

Ravi was indicted last month on 15 charges, including a bias intimidation count that charges he acted because Clementi was gay.

That charge alone could be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Ravi's lawyer has said he is not guilty.

Afterward, his father, Joe Clementi, read a statement about her.

"We understand that Miss Wei's actions, though unlawful, were substantially different in their nature and their extent than the actions of Tyler's former roommate," Clementi said. "We wish that Miss Wei will become a person who will make better decisions," he said, adding he hopes she "will help people, and show kindness to those she comes in contact with."

Some information from The Associated Press