The Princeton Police Department issued a press release today announcing that the department has closed its investigation into the photographing and dissemination of a sexual act at the Tiger Inn, a private eating club at Princeton University.
The police department had been investigating whether there was an invasion of privacy.
“All the involved parties were identified, including the alleged victim, and interviewed,” a police department spokesman said. “Based on the totality of the investigation, no crimes were committed in this case.”
“The police department found no evidence to support criminal wrongdoing and we have closed the investigation with no criminal charges,” the police department spokesman said. “The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was consulted in this matter.”
In October, an intoxicated first-year female student at Princeton University began performing oral sex on a senior on the dance floor at the private eating club, and a lacrosse player snapped a photo of the act.
Police said the photograph did not depict any intimate body parts engaged in the sex act.
Club treasurer Adam Krop sent an email to all the undergraduate club members via the club listserv that included the photo and the text “Ivy blows… and so does this Asian chick.”
The couple depicted in the photo are dating each other.
Under New Jersey law, the distribution of a photo of a sex act without the person’s consent is a criminal offense. A person commits a crime in the third degree if the person photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact without that person’s consent, and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.
It is also a third degree crime to disclose any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed, or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, unless that person has consented to such disclosure, regardless of whether the image was made legally. A victim would have to press charges.
The club’s rules prohibit sex acts in public places at the club.
Princeton University has not concluded its own investigation into the incident. The private eating club is under the jurisdiction of the Princeton Police, but the email was sent using a university email address.
According to the 2014 edition of the University’s Rights, Rules, Responsibilities Handbook for students, “”All actions by a member of the Princeton University community that involve the use of the University’s computing and network resources from a remote location, including but not limited to accessing e-mail accounts, will be deemed to have occurred on campus.”
In the handbook, sexual exploitation is defined as “any act whereby one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another who has not provided consent, and that does not constitute non-consensual sexual penetration or non-consensual sexual contact. Examples may include: recording, photographing, transmitting, viewing or distributing intimate or sexual images or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; voyeurism (i.e., spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations).”
More than 100 Tiger alumni signed a letter that was published in the Princeton University student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, today condemning recent behavior by club members, including the email. The letter was also posted on Medium.
“While the Graduate Board appears to be taking these matters very seriously, and we appreciate the strong language that was used in the recent email to members, as reported by The Daily Princetonian, we are concerned that the actions taken so far — namely, the dismissal of club officers from their posts — are insufficient to alter the club’s culture and seem like half-measures at best,” reads the letter.
“Should TI be permitted to remain open for the time being? If it should, under what conditions?,” The alumni ask. “In light of the incidents this year — and in light of the fact that one set of officers was forced out, only to be replaced by another set of officers who exhibited even worse judgment — we believe that the prevailing culture of the club does not appear to live up to the standards of either the club or the University. Rather than hoping to address this through the least amount of punishment, the Graduate Board would do better to start from the other direction and consider whether the club should continue operating at the present time and, if so, what conditions the club and its members should be required to meet.”
The alumni who signed the letter say they are reluctant to associate themselves with the club at this time, and they hope the Graduate Board makes a strong statement to the club’s past, current and future members about Tiger Inn’s values.
“Tiger Inn has an opportunity to demonstrate meaningful and potentially far-reaching leadership by addressing these recent issues in a manner that is direct, uncompromising and transparent to its alumni, the Princeton University community and the community beyond,” the letter reads. “The privilege and advantages that are bestowed upon students attending Princeton University cannot be overstated, and this fact needs to be acknowledged. If members of the Tiger Inn and its Graduate Board take swift and strong action to demonstrate that any kind of bias, harassment, exploitation or assault will not be tolerated, perhaps the current club culture can be reshaped into something worthy of the unique privilege that Princeton University students enjoy. Such actions will not erase the shameful events that have occurred recently at Tiger Inn, but anything less is not worthy of the Tiger Inn or of Princeton University.”