Cybersex Wax-Torture Case Won't Unseal Inbox

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NEW YORK: Imagine chatting with a student online and agreeing to meet up face-to-face for dinner -- only to find yourself tied up in his apartment and sexually abused with hot candle wax for more than 20 hours. That’s what prosecutors allege happened to the 21-year-old victim of Oliver Jovanovic, a Columbia University graduate student whose trial opens Monday in Manhattan.

But in a new twist to the case that has Jovanovic’s lawyers crying foul, the State Supreme Court has allowed the prosecution to delete vital portions of the woman’s e-mail messages. Jovanovic’s supporters claim they contain mitigating details, and show she’d already had a series of similar, consensual encounters. Justice William Wetzel says the defense is not obliged to see the mails, under New York’s rape shield law. Wetzel also ruled, however, that the prosecution is not allowed to use Jovanovic’s e-mail against him. So whatever the outcome of the case and its horrific allegations, the law is now somewhat less likely to intrude upon your inbox. Internet denizens everywhere will be comforted by that.