All Charges Dropped in "Cybersex Torture Case"

Former Chess Prodigy Oliver Jovanovic got good news Thursday when the New York Supreme Court dismissed all charges against him in the famed "Internet Cybersex Torture Case".

This case had already come to stand as a prime example of how unfettered prosecutorial zeal combined with judicial prejudice and incompetence plus the need to make a political point can trammel over the rights of the citizenry.
Jamie Rzucek
Hi! I'm Jamie, but you can call me "Pushy Bottom". If you think I've been bad, you cannot even imagine how much worse I will be to my next victim, you!

The Manhattan District Attorney brought the Jovanovic case, intending to make it a showcase example to warn innocent young girls of the dangers of meeting men over the Internet.

According to the prosecution's theory of the case, Jamie Rzucek was an innocent and unaware young girl, a Barnard College Student, who met a "cyberfiend" in an AOL internet chat room and was lured by him to his apartment where he tied her up and performed all kinds of wicked sex acts on her over a 20-hour period.

The problem was that the portrayal of her as an innocent and unaware virginal type victim was not entirely accurate. In reality, she was heavily involved in sado-masochism and frequented New York's well known sado-masochism clubs including "The Vault" and "Hell's Fire". Coincidentally, another well known chess expert, Eddie LaMarca, worked as a bouncer at those clubs. Jamie was well known to him.

In order to secure a conviction of Jovanovic, it was necessary for the prosecutor to conceal this information from the jury. Therefore, under the pretext of New York's "Rape Shield Law", Judge William Wetzel prohibited the showing of the e-mail and chat room messages which Rzucek had sent to Jovanovic where she had bragged about her involvement in sado-masochism. In short, the jury was allowed to know nothing about the background and character of the complaining witness.

The fact that the evidence which the jury was not allowed to see was so overwhelming caused many prestigious publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe to write editorials against the antics of Judge Wetzel. "Wacko Wetzel", the New York Post called him.

Judge Wetzel was determined to get his conviction and eventually imposed a 15 year prison sentence.

Fortunately, because of the publicity surrounding this obviously unjust conviction, the family and friends of Jovanovic rallied to support him. They spent $500,000 to pay lawyers to defend him. The conviction was overturned in a 4-1 vote after Jovanovic had spent 20 months in prison, where his cell was next to the cell of the "Son of Sam".

This sent the case back for a new trial, a trial the state could not hope to win because the court had ruled that all e-mails from Rzucek to Jovanovic including e-mails with explicit sexual content could be shown to the jury.

The struggle continued for another two years with Judge Wetzel refusing to disqualify himself from the case in spite of being severely criticized by the appellate court. Finally, Judge Wetzel took himself off the case last month and the case was assigned to another judge, who dismissed it yesterday.

The end result was that a case which should never have been brought from day one took five years of a man's life and cost $500,000 to defend. It is noteworthy that one week after the incident in question, when Rzucek first took her complaint to the police, the police decided that the case was bogus. Rzucek later took her complaint to the DA's office who overruled the police and decided to prosecute it.

Although Oliver Jovanovic no longer plays tournament chess, his father Svetozar Jovanovic, is America's leading chess coach, teacher and trainer and holds the record for winning the most national championships of any chess coach in America.

Oliver Jovanovic must now try to rebuild his shattered life. At the time of his arrest in 1997, he was one week away from defending his Ph.D. thesis in microbiology. Jamie Ruzcek, on the other hand, has lucrative movie deals awaiting her, now that she has established herself as the undisputed cybersex torture queen.

Sam Sloan

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