Desfeux granted special probation

Nine months after he taped himself having sex with his then-girlfriend without her knowledge — and then showed the graphic footage to his Davenport College roommates — Casper Desfeux ’10 received two years of special probation at a New Haven Superior Court on Friday.

As a first-time offender, Desfeux’s criminal record will be expunged if he completes probation and behaves over the next two years. But before Judge Philip Scarpellino issued his decision, he delivered harsh words to the blond, wild-haired Dane.

“I think you should be ashamed of yourself,” Scarpellino said, according to the Hartford Courant. “In this day and age when we’re fighting for our privacy with cameras displayed everywhere, we don’t need them in places where they shouldn’t appear.”

According to the accounts of friends and acquaintances, Desfeux’s proverbial weapon of choice was an Apple MacBook Webcam. His audience? Four roommates. (He confessed this much in sworn testimony.)

When one of the roommates tipped off the girlfriend, who Desfeux came to admit he furtively videotaped, it was no longer a matter of fun and games for the then-twenty-year-old. He was arrested by the New Haven police on two Class D felony charges: voyeurism and dissemination of voyeuristic materials.

After first applying for accelerated rehabilitation in October, police delayed the case in order to analyze Desfeux’s external hard drive. Those delays somehow continued, stretching through June 2008.

Ultimately, one of Desfeux’s saving graces may have been the length of the taped sex episode — 45 minutes. He told police in September that because of its large size, he could not upload the video to the Internet, and thus could not disseminate it to the public.

The student’s legal victory Friday may come as no surprise to New Haven courtwatchers: after all, the omnipresent William Dow III ’63 represented him. Dow, who said the incident “evolved from a misunderstanding,” has a reputation for defending Elis in sticky situations. (His recent clients include Hyder Akbar ’07, who made national headlines for allegedly burning an American flag, and David Light ’09, who was charged last summer with bomb making and weapons possession. He also represented fallen Connecticut Governor John Rowland when the now-jailed leader faced corruption charges.)

Although Desfeux took the spring semester off, he remained an active player in the Yale community — and American political scene — last fall.

According to a report, he organized the October visit of Craig Romney, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s son, to campus.

“Hopefully, people will realize that even if there were some aspect to Mormonism that would make Romney less qualified, it would not affect the presidency or America’s future,” he said in an October e-mail to the News. “Romney is an incredibly charismatic candidate: he fosters confidence everywhere.”

Plus, Desfeux added, “he doesn’t have any skeletons in the closest.”

Correction: Aug. 23, 2013 

A previous version of this article and its headline mistakenly stated that a judge sentenced Casper Desfeux to the probationary program known as accelerated rehabilitation. In fact, Desfeux was not sentenced, as accelerated rehabilitation is a program in which charges are dismissed at the end of the probationary period. 

Comments

  • anon

    The crime was nothing less than a violation of the deepest trust. If anything, he got off easy

    (At least his political views are spot-on.)

    /flame on

  • Jens Kristensen, Denmark

    Why procecute for something that in fact enhanced the womans value in the meat market. The act took an hour! How many woman are able to do that in such an age?

    Second of all such videos are common in Denmark. On our local playground in Virum teens much younger are trading these acts out in the public and in a time where almost every mobiles have a camera built-in some of the acts are properly out on the net.

    Second of all, some of the conditions involved treatment. Treatment of what? Preventing distribution of cultural traditions? Engaging in a relationship with some odd form of higher ethics?

    Unnecessary sentence in a case that never should have been brought to trial. I will report the case to center-validering.dk so they can put it on their page of cases of xenophobia if they feel it qualifies

  • Jens Dynenloefter

    The judge seems to live in another age not allowing different kinds ethics and cultural differences integrate themselves in the student environment.

    Is Yale international recognized? Perhaps now, but not in the future with such a narrowminded stand on own herritage.

    It seems that protectionism has won again. I will sent out a warning to future Danish students to keep away. We are as Danes always being criticized by middle East countries for not giving them enough slack in the Danish society. Just remember the cartoon crisis. If we have to open up, then the community around Yale should also.

  • Recent Alum

    "His recent clients include Hyder Akbar '07, who made national headlines for allegedly burning an American flag"

    Allegedly???

  • Hieronymus

    I understand where #1 is coming from, but I disagree on two main points, most especially the offhand remark regarding the perpetrator's "political views."

    First, the crime: not only was it a violation of trust (although "deepest trust" may be an exaggeration) but an indicator of increased callousness. Supposedly this was the perp's "girlfriend," and yet he felt fine "sharing" his prize with his roommates. One potentially valid inference: he holds his relationship with his roomies in higher esteem than he does the one with his girlfriend.

    More generally, he likely holds women in general in very low regard. Also, given the victim's (justified) response, he has no inkling of the inner emotions of his "sex partner."

    I use the term "sex partner" because that is about the best term, "girlfriend" implies some level of connection/exclusivity/caring, not just a hookup. Put aside for a moment the clear-cut legal crime here, i.e., a violation of individual rights (and this, 'twould seem, is more and more the destination--and goal--of many in the US, i.e., an unintentional geographical co-location of unconnected individuals), this shows some fundamental misunderstanding of human interconnection, a.k.a., empathy. In the past, this may have been related to immaturity, but seems these days that the maturation process has been impaired, perhaps permanently.

    Not only did the perp get off easy, but he likely learned little, probably blames the victim for being such a beeotch. But, of course, I merely speculate.

    As for the other comment, implying that this behavior is somehow in line with a Conservative viewpoint: don't be an ass. THIS is EXACTLY the type of behavior that Conservatives have been predicting and lamenting. Conservatives (despite particular failings--yes, even Conservatives are human) work AGAINST this general coarsening of America, this "anything goes" atmosphere, the assumption that every college experience should mirror the Girls Gone Wild videos…

    How funny that Liberals are appalled when "relationships" are devoid of meaning, of caring, when the raunchiest, lowest-common-denominating behavior is set as the norm (and, worse, try to pin it on Conservatives!).

    How ironic that Liberals--most especially Capital "F" marxists (a.k.a. Feminists, as opposed to natural feminists, i.e., women who simply work, perform, achieve w/o the self-defeating victim identity)--would do better mimicking their turn-of-last-century feminist forebears (a la the temperance movement; we could call this, humorously enough, the continence movement).

    Amusing to see it all backwards now: early feminists leading the charge of morality; modern Feminista leading the charge to the bottom of the barrel. Who gets hurt? The ENTIRELY NORMAL victim of the referenced crime, for example.

    [ed. note: men are stoopid, true enough; take away any incentive or instruction with regard to self-betterment or behavioral circumscription and you get what you have, either non-comprehending boors or basement-dwelling gamers. Gawd I hope this experiment is nearly over…but I fear that it is not).

    So: while I agree with the general nature of #1's comments--i.e., the perp got off light on a fundamental human violation AND his world view is f'ed up--I think the poster misunderstands completely the meaning and genesis of what happened and is happening.

    Gawd, y'only have yerselves to blame.

  • Bye Bye Miss American Pie

    It's no wonder that "Kids" pull these kind of stunts when it is practically sanctioned by the film industry. I am sure he got his DIY from "American Pie". Even the same equipment was used.

    I am not a "Bible Thumper" but it is obvious that ethics and moral values even judged by "Baby Boomer" standards have seen a rapid decline towards this type of "Funny", eg; acceptable, behavior.

    At least in this case there was some "Accountability", seemingly appropriate in consequence.

    He should be thankful that he was not trained in rendering video to smaller sized formats for internet use. Sometimes chance does favors the ignorant.

  • Recent Alum

    Can someone, anyone, please explain what Mitt Romney and his son have to do with this and why they are even mentioned in this article?

  • @Hieronymus

    #1 here. I am (was) a Romney supporter.

    Reread what I wrote, sans your paranoia. Now, please feel suitably embarrassed about your rant.

    Thanks.

  • Hieronymus

    In the context of the Yale campus, I am sure you can understand my misinterpretation; being a Romney supporter, I have no doubt you will also pardon my paranoia.

    Lastly, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they are NOT out to get you…

    I appreciate the clarification (especially given the article's seeming non sequitur)

    Best regards,

  • Millhouse

    i feel bad for the girl,her boyfriend is immature (i hope ex beau)
    Secondly :who is refering these students to Dow ? the court ? Yale Law school ?
    Mr.Wishnies troop could'nt handle this ?
    oh Class D felonies,pretty serious charges,which i agree to
    were these charges reduced -dropped to misdemeanors ? should they have been Misdemeaners to start with ?

  • Anonymous

    Yale refers these people to Dow

    in fact Yale also pressured the girl in the video to drop charges and not go public with it, as they do with the majority of sex-related crimes on campus

  • Confused

    Regarding the comment of #11-

    Is there a reason why Yale makes such an effort to go so easy on the students who (putting it mildly) promote the objectification of women? The university is clearly not afraid of coming off as progressive and open-minded, considering the celebrated racial and cultural diversity of the class of 2011, and they make it clear that all other forms of discrimination (racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, etc) aren't to be tolerated--and, in these respects, in my opinion, the university to be praised. As a woman, however, I feel genuinely let down, and am saddened to know that the university wouldn't support me should I experience something like what happened to Desfeux's girlfriend. Does anyone know what the reasoning behind this attitude is, or if there is any at all?

  • Wants to know

    Exactly who at Yale is responsible for the policy of pressuring victims of campus sex crimes to drop the charges and not go public? Dean Salovey? President Levin? Vice President and General Counsel Dorothy Robinson? Do college Masters and Deans collectively agree to this policy or are they forced to comply? If so, by whom?

  • Rutherford W.Howe

    Thank You #13, who wants to know..
    maybe General Counsel Dorothy Robinson is Judge Angela Robinsons sister or Mother,also connected to the Big Hartford outfit Robinson & Cole who happens to have City AND Yale contracts

  • Nessuno

    I was the victim of sexual assault last fall, and I cannot complain at all about the availability of Yale resources and support. If anything, the police were the pushiest ones involved; they badgered me to press charges in order to get this 'rapist' off the street. What they failed to recognize is the importance of my anonymity. Yale's a small school when issues like these arise. There is no way I could press charges or even go to ex-comm without a majority of my classmates finding out. And it's not my friends who are the issue - it's people who don't know me and would then only associate me with this one event.

    In regards to speculation that Yale tries to keep these things private, there is some truth to it. It often has to do with the students involved. If the perpetrator is very active on campus (as an athlete, for example) and the victim is less so, then the administrators may tend to favor the more visible student on campus, regardless of guilt. They wouldn't do this blatantly, but they would create certain obstacles for the victim, i.e. the threat of the story going public and all the shame that might ensue, even for an innocent victim. Though Casper's former girlfriend's name was never officially released, word spreads fast. I have no doubt that if you wanted to find out her identity, all you'd have to do is ask a couple people. Once again, Yale's not as big a school as I like to think it is.

  • Jonas Schmidt

    To Confused:

    Desfeux is a foreigner. It remains unclear whether the person who offended you has as citizen status.

    Running an international school means that you have to raise your hand at certain traditions brought along from their homeland. They should come to experiense our culture, not to force us to accept theirs.

  • Alum

    #12: Did Desfeux receive no punishment at all (not even a reprimand) from the university? I am assuming so from your comment, but why then would he have taken the spring semester of?

  • Still Confused

    There is a huge difference between trying to protect someone's privacy and telling them not to press charges against the perpetrator of a sexual assault. I just want to know if it's true if that's what happened, and if so, why. And not because I want to gossip about Desfeux's girlfriend, but because I care about women's rights and therefore am interested in how Yale dealt with this issue and others like it.

    I was incredibly disappointed when the Zeta Psi boys received no punishment for their actions in front of the Women's Center. For me, it signaled that Yale takes the issue of gender equality less seriously than it takes issues of equality for other minority/culturally disadvantaged groups. This is something I would like to work towards changing, if I can, but I want to know more first, which is why I am particularly interested in the contents of comment #11, about finding out if it's true and the reasons behind the university's choices in the matter.

  • Anonymous

    Why would Yale police necessarily badger a recently victimized student to press charges? Campus sexual assault is much more personal than being mugged. Exactly whose responsibilty is it "to get 'rapists' off the street"? If there is a false sense of security on the Yale campus for students, who is to blame for that and the consequences for victims?

  • Shocked

    Well I'm glad to hear that his record will be expunged. We certainly wouldn't want anyone to find out about this in the future! and since the record will be expunged, there is absolutely no way in the world anyone will ever find out about this.

    I can't imagine why the author of this article would put Desfeux's political views in the article. Imagine how it sounds with someone else, "After being released from prison for raping little boys, Johnson was just happy to be out in time to attend an Obama rally." Does that seem relevant to include in a story that was for the sake of argument was not about the political views of inmates? Was it just a roundabout way to make a joke about the guy once saying that someone else didn't have any skeletons in his closet? Or was it a political jab by the author? Either way its bad journalism.

  • anon

    What odd views the Danes post here. What's new or strange about obeying the laws of countries that you visit? Should readers understand from posts 2, 3 and 16 that Danes have no respect for local laws and customs when they travel? That sounds a lot like what some Muslim extremists say about cartoons published in other countries.

  • princeton08

    My god, your school sure has a lot of degenerates. Did anything GOOD involving Yale make the news this year??