New Jersey

Charges Dropped Against 5 Students in Sex Assault Case

"They were starting college and they want to be educated and they want to be successful in life and all of a sudden their whole life was totally derailed," an attorney for one of the students said

Charges have been dismissed against five students at New Jersey's William Paterson University who had been accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a female student at a dormitory after a grand jury refused to indict them. 

Jahmel Latimer, of Hoboken, Darius Singleton, of Jersey City, Garret Collick, of Paterson, Noah Williams, of Camden, and Tremaine Scott, of Vineland, had pleaded not guilty to the charges in December.

The charges were dropped after the Passaic County grand jury refused to indict the men this week after they were presented with the case Monday.

Latimer's attorney, Ron Ricci, told The Record that defense attorneys for each of the men provided evidence to prosecutors "that this was not a sexual assault." 

"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 told the newspaper.

Collick told NBC 4 New York Friday. "Me and my mom were totally relieved. She cried when she heard the news."

His attorney, Laura Sutnick, said the investigation by William Paterson campus police was flawed from the start and that campus police arrested the five students before they notified the county prosecutor's office, going against standard operating procedure. 

"They were starting college and they want to be educated and they wanted to be successful in life, and all of a sudden their whole life was totally derailed," she said. "We felt like if we didn't do the investigation immediately, we were going to lose important evidence, we were going to lose important witnesses." 

The five men were expelled following the allegations. Collick said he lost his job and that his reputation was damaged.

"Once somebody accuses you of a crime, how do you recover from that?" said Sutnick. "This boy -- and he is a boy -- should not have seen the inside of a state county jail for ten days, but he did."

University President Kathleen Waldron said in a statement that the school's independent student conduct 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," she said.

Collick said he wants to return to his business studies at the school if it works out.

"I didn't commit a crime and I'm not a bad person. That's what I want people to know," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us