All charges dismissed against 5 William Paterson students in sex assault case
All charges have been dismissed against five William Paterson University students who were accused in November of kidnapping and raping a student on campus, officials said today.
The charges were dropped after a grand jury in Passaic County refused to indict the five, court officials said.
The five are Jahmel Latimer, Darius Singleton, Termaine Scott, Garrett Collick and Noah Williams, all of whom had been free on bail.
They had been charged with the sexual assault of a female student at the Overlook residence hall on Nov. 25.
Ron Ricci, an attorney for Latimer, said the case was presented to a grand jury on Monday, and the panel declined to indict after a one-day presentation.
“The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office conducted a thorough investigation, and they presented the case honestly to a grand jury on Monday. The grand jury declined to indict all the defendants,” Ricci said.
"I am not going to get into the specifics, just that the facts demonstrated that this was not a sexual assault, and the actions of those young men were not in violation of the law. It clearly wasn't a crime," he said.
Ricci said all the defense attorneys had provided evidence to prosecutors “that this was not a sexual assault.”
The outcome “just proves that schools and deans should be careful before they make comments that boys are guilty of sexual assault,” Ricci said. “These boys were not suspended; they were expelled. They never got a hearing in front of the school, and there were damaging statements made by school officials.
“It was outrageous that these young men had to go through the publicity they had to go through. My client's family is extremely disappointed by how the investigation was handled by William Paterson University and its police department."
In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Kathleen Waldron, the president of William Paterson University, said, “We respect the decision reached through this legal process. The University has its own student conduct process that is independent of the state's legal proceedings and the University process will continue.
“The University does not take any allegations of sexual assault lightly and will continue to adhere to all legal requirements and University policies and procedures in such matters. We are committed to the safety and well being of all our students.”