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Teen to cooperate in Rutgers webcam case

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- A former Rutgers University student charged in a webcam-spying case linked to a classmate's suicide agreed Friday to cooperate with authorities as they prosecute another defendant -- and could avoid jail time for her help.

Molly Wei, 19, of West Windsor, was accepted Friday into a pretrial intervention program. Under it, two invasion of privacy charges will be dropped eventually if she complies with a series of conditions.

Wei answered only simple questions from her lawyer in a 10-minute hearing on the intervention program.

Wei and Dharun Ravi, a classmate in both high school and at Rutgers, were accused of using a webcam to spy on Ravi's roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, during his dorm-room encounter with another man in September. They allegedly watched on Wei's computer in her room.

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

Clementi's parents watched from the back row of the small courtroom. They said they accepted Wei's agreement, which a judge approved Friday.

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.

Wei's lawyers say she was a minor player and has been cooperating with authorities since shortly after the events of September and said she did not commit a crime.

Authorities say Ravi set up a webcam to capture Clementi's liaison and used Twitter to tell others about it.

But one of Wei's attorneys said that contrary to early reports, no liaison was webcast on the Internet for the public to see.

A pretrial intervention is used in many cases in which the defendants have no criminal records and are charged with low-level crimes.

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