Syracuse hounded after ‘good school’ rape defendant outed as student
He graduated from a prestigious private school in affluent Monmouth County and got accepted into Syracuse University thanks in part to the good grades that impressed a Family Court judge who believed the young man should be exempt from adult justice after being accused of raping a girl.
That's now all unraveling.
The teen at the center of a New Jersey rape case that drew worldwide attention because the juvenile court judge refused to try him as an adult because he came from a "good school," has been identified as a now-former student of Syracuse University.
As a 16-year-old high school student, he was accused of sexually penetrating a stumbling-drunk 16-year-old who was unable to give consent, recording part of the encounter and sending the clip to at least seven friends with the caption: "when your first time having sex is rape."
The leniency that Judge James Troiano sought for the teen stoked outrage in the era of #MeToo, a movement that has led to examinations of the way survivors of sex crimes are treated by law enforcement, the courts and other institutions, including college campuses.
Numerous state lawmakers have called for the two judges to either resign or be investigated by the judiciary. Lawmakers and advocates also have called for judges to receive training on handling sexual abuse cases.
In a statement Tuesday, the upstate New York school acknowledged that the "individual in question is no longer a student" there.
The university added that it "does not tolerate sexual and relationship violence of any kind, including incidents that occur off campus."
Syracuse, however, would not say when the Monmouth County resident stopped being a student or whether they had expelled him.
The university's statement was prompted by a barrage of comments on Twitter and social media outing the student and demanding that he be expelled.
He was identified in court papers as "G.M.C." The identities of juveniles are kept secret in New Jersey courts and New Jersey 101.5 will not identify them until the cases become a matter of public record in adult Superior Court.
But such rules don't apply on social media, where his name and photos has spread like wildfire. Almost all social media accounts associated with the college student appear to have been deleted or deactivated.
The judge's decision in the case, which was overturned on appeal last month, was brought to light by New Jersey 101.5 reporting on this and another juvenile case involving charges of sexual assault in which the judges were criticized for using language that appeared to minimize the alleged crimes.
In the GMC case, Troiano cited the 16-year-old teen defendant's good school and his upbringing as reasons for denying prosecutors' request to waive up the case to adult court. The judge also claimed that there was a difference between "sexual assault" and "rape," even though state law makes no such distinction, arguing that the allegations against GMC were not that serious.
In the Middlesex County case highlighted in the New Jersey 101.5 coverage, Judge Marcia Silva denied prosecutors' requests to try a 16-year-old accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. Silva claimed the girl, who ended up bleeding after the violent encounter, suffered no physical or emotional harm aside from losing her virginity.
Appellate court panels last month overturned the judges. Prosecutors expect to present their cases to grand juries as they would with adult defendants.
On Wednesday, the attorney representing the young man in Monmouth County defended the judge and requested that "any judgment, in this case, be withheld until all of the evidence is presented in a court of law."
"The issue of my client's guilt or innocence has yet to be addressed in a court of law," Mitchell J. Ansell of the firm Ansell Grimm & Aaron said in a statement. "However, at this time, my client is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.