Student Involved In Tyler Clementi Suicide Avoids Jail Time

Illustration for article titled Student Involved In Tyler Clementi Suicide Avoids Jail Time

Molly Wei, the former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to document Tyler Clementi's sexual encounter with a male classmate, has been approved for a "pretrial intervention program that will allow her to avoid criminal prosecution":

Under the deal with prosecutors, Wei, 18, of Princeton, N.J., pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of invasion of privacy, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

As part of the pretrial intervention, Wei must attend counseling in cyberbulling and in dealing with alternative and cultural differences. She must also complete 300 hours of community service and testify against Ravi.

If Wei completes the program without getting into any additional trouble, all charges will be dropped, the prosecutor's office said.


Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, who was also involved in the taping, was indicted a few short weeks ago on 15 charges including bias intimation and invasion of privacy.

Tyler Clementi Suicide: Ex-Rutgers Student, Molly Wei, Avoids Jail [HuffPo]



To be honest, I think counseling and community service has the potential to be a lot more beneficial than incarceration, depending on her level of involvement and the type of counseling. If she helped tape it or distribute it, then that's criminal, but that seems unclear. I don't like to think anyone is irredeemable.

However, I don't think this is some mild "mistake" or "joke" gone awry. Taping someone and distributing it is deliberate, calculated, and clearly wrong in our society. To do it takes a serious lack of empathy. To me, due to our ingrained homophobia, it's also a hate crime. There is no way they didn't know how serious that could be.

I have mixed feeling about things that involve bullying and suicide, because while I don't think other people's actions "make" someone commit suicide...I also don't think you're less guilty of harassing and abusing someone because they happen to have been mentally ill enough to go to an extreme. Just because you didn't know they'd do that doesn't make the actions okay. It doesn't make you a murderer, but it does make you abusive. And I do think that abusing people can encourage a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness a person may not feel they have a way out of. They still have a choice, but many mentally ill people don't know that or even how serious their illness is until it's too late. I really don't know how you prosecute that, and I'm not a fan of our prison system at the best of times. But I hope the counseling here is not just a few sessions, but over the course of several years. That's honestly the only way I can see it being of benefit.