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Charges Dropped in Cybersex Case

November 2, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ A judge on Thursday dismissed charges against a Columbia University doctoral candidate accused of sexually torturing a college student he’d met in an Internet chat room.

Prosecutor Lanita Hobbs told the State Supreme Court she had concluded the alleged victim was not emotionally prepared to go through the stress of a second trial.

Oliver Jovanovic, 35, was convicted in 1998 of kidnapping, sexual abuse and assault involving a 22-year-old woman and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. But the Appellate Division reversed his conviction in 1999, saying he had not had a fair trial.

Hobbs, noting the case had dragged on for five years and that Jovanovic had already served almost two years in prison, asked Judge Rena Uviller to dismiss the charges. The motion was granted.

``I feel great. It was a little unexpected,″ Jovanovic said leaving the courtroom. ``The case never had any merit to begin with.″

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