Indictment in Rutgers suicide case
 

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posted Friday, April 22, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 16

Indictment in Rutgers suicide case
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Former Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi has been charged with a hate crime and 14 other counts in the suicide of his college roommate, Tyler Clementi.

Clementi, then 18, took his own life last fall by jumping off the George Washington Bridge, after Ravi allegedly taped him having sex with another man in his dorm room and live-streamed the encounter on a video chat line.

A Middlesex County, New Jersey, grand jury charged Ravi with bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, witness and evidence tampering, and other counts.

According to the indictment, an alleged accomplice, Ravi's friend Molly Wei, was not charged by the grand jury 'at this time.'

The indictment says Ravi targeted Clementi and invaded his privacy knowing that Clementi would be intimidated because of his sexual orientation.

Ravi 'disclosed a photograph, film, videotape, recording, or other reproduction of the image of [Clementi] & whose intimate parts were exposed,' the indictment reads.

Evidence retrieved from Twitter and various social networking sites suggests Ravi had an aversion to Clementi's sexual orientation from the start of their freshman year.

'Found out my roommate is Gay,' Ravi tweeted on August 22 last year.

He then posted a link to a Gay men's website where he said Clementi had placed posts.

It is believed to be the same website, JustUsBoys, that Clementi posted to after he discovered that Ravi had secretly filmed him with another man.

'So my question is what is next,' user 'cti2mo' - believed to be Clementi - wrote on September 21. 'I could just be more careful next time ... make sure to turn the cam away.'

In the same post, cit2mo continues, 'I'm kinda pissed at him (rightfully so I think, no?)'

A Twitter page that appears to have been operated by Ravi but has since been taken down shows messages in which Ravi takes credit for the alleged videotaping of Clementi.

Ravi apparently tweeted about his roommate on September 19 before live-streaming Clementi's sexual encounter.

'Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay,' he wrote.

And two days later, another message went out to Ravi's 148 Twitter followers: 'Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again.'

The next day, a chilling post from Clementi showed up on his Facebook page.

He wrote in a message dated September 22 at 8:42 p.m., 'Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.'

Ravi subsequently became worried about being charged with a crime, prosecutors say.

According to their indictment, he then sent false tweets in an attempt 'to mislead a public servant who was engaged in such proceeding or investigation.'

He also attempted to destroy tweets from his Twitter feed, prosecutors allege. In addition, the indictment says that Ravi tried to convince other students to not testify against him.

Clementi's parents, Jane and Joe Clementi, said in a statement released Wednesday that they were eager for the case to move forward.

'The grand jury indictment spells out cold and calculated acts against our son Tyler by his former college roommate. If these facts are true, as they appear to be, then it is important for our criminal justice system to establish clear accountability under law. We are eager to have the process move forward for justice in this case and to reinforce the standards of acceptable conduct in our society,' the statement said.

Lawyers for Ravi say the webcam stream was viewed on only a single computer and did not show Clementi and his companion having sex.



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