BuzzFeed NYU Student In Court For Allegedly Setting Sleeping Classmate On Fire And Snapchatting It

Jaime Castano was kicked out of the university after the alleged incident.

Kevin Christopher Burke / Via Flickr: nomadicsun

A former student of New York University appeared in court in Manhattan on Tuesday, charged with allegedly setting fire to his sleeping classmate and filming the incident on Snapchat as he sang.

Jaime V. Castano, 20, was arraigned on first-degree assault and reckless endangerment charges in connection with the incident, which allegedly took place in an NYU dormitory on the night of Aug. 23–24, 2014.

The alleged victim told authorities she fell asleep in the room with Castano and another person, before waking up the next morning to discover burn marks on her clothing and comforter, as well as painful burns on her torso, a New York District Attorney's Office spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

Castano allegedly admitted to filming the incident, which showed the alleged victim waking up to extinguish the flames as Castano sang. BuzzFeed News understands the victim later watched a Snapchat of the alleged incident.

The woman reported the incident to university officials, who expelled Castano in September after an internal investigation, but NYU did not report the incident to police until late October. Castano was eventually arrested on Jan. 19.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, NYU's Vice President for Public Affairs John Beckman said the university had spoken with the alleged victim about taking the matter to the police, but she initially refused. NYU now admits it should have immediately contacted the police.

“In retrospect, at least when the facts became clear, this case clearly should have been reported to the police, not withstanding the reluctance of the victim,” Beckman said.

“We are conducting a full investigation as to how a different decision was made in this case and clarifying our decision-making process so that cases like this are reported to the police immediately in the future,” he said.

Castano is due to reappear in court on Friday.



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