According to the Newark Star Ledger, former Rutgers University student Molly Wei has been accepted into a “pre-trial intervention program.” This is a part of a plea agreement between Wei and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for Wei’s testimony against her former co-defendant Dharun Ravi. Last September, Wei and friend Ravi had web-broadcasted the sexual encounter between Ravi’s roommate, Tyler Clementi and another man. When he discovered the web-cast, a distraught Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
In court this morning, Wei pleaded not guilty and was accepted into the pre-trial intervention program. Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure read the conditions of the agreement, under which Wei will have to complete 300 hours of community service and undergo counseling for cyberbullying and dealing with people with alternative lifestyles. She must also testify against Ravi when he is prosecuted.
Wei, who dropped out of Rutgers, did not speak other than to answer the questions of her attorney with a yes or no answer.
If she completes the three-year program without additional legal trouble, the charges against her will be dropped. Had she been convicted on the two counts of invasion of privacy, Wei could be sentenced to five years in prison.
Pretrial intervention, or PTI, is available to first-time offenders accused of non-violent crimes. It is common for defendants to apply for the program, but it requires approval of the prosecutor’s office and a judge.
I suspect the Prosecutor’s Office will now go back to Ravi’s legal team and push for a fairly stiff plea agreement. And Ravi’s legal team’s room to maneuver has greatly contracted. From the beginning, the Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office has vigorously pursued this case, despite being stonewalled by Ravi and Wei, and even Rutgers at one point.
I’m fairly sure a form of justice will be done in the death of Tyler Clementi. But the fact remains that a talented young man is still dead thanks to their homophobic thoughtlessness.