NEW BRUNSWICK - The case of a Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide after a roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on his encounter with another man could be the first major legal test of a state privacy law passed in 2003.
Lawyers for the roommate and another student accused of watching 18-year-old Tyler Clementi engaging in a sexual act with another man in his dorm room insist their clients were the only two people who saw a tame encounter and did not record it.
Legal experts say that even if suspects Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei did not see nudity or sexual contact, it's possible they could still be found guilty of a crime that can carry an 18-month prison term. Both face an invasion of privacy charge.
The case gained wide attention in September when it was learned that Clementi committed suicide by jumping into the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge, just days after the alleged viewing.
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