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24 May 2011

Not guilty plea for roommate of Rutgers student who committed suicide

Eight months the suicide of American student Tyler Clementi that got the country talking about the issue of bullying on school campuses and anti-bullying efforts, his former roommate, who faces a 15-count indictment of hate crime charges, stood in court for the first time on Monday.

CNN on Monday reported:

Defense attorneys entered a not guilty plea Monday for the roommate of the Rutgers University student who committed suicide following a candid online broadcast of his sexual encounter with another man, prosecutors say.

Dharun Ravi, 19, is charged with streaming the footage of his roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, engaging in a physical relationship with another man in their shared dormitory last September.

According to prosecutors, the video was allegedly accessed from another room and advertised on Twitter, providing "others an opportunity to view the encounter," Middlesex County (New Jersey) Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said in a statement.

Clementi later killed himself, jumping from the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey.

Ravi faces a 15-count indictment of hate crime charges involving invasion of privacy and evidence tampering after prosecutors say he tried to stage a cover-up, deleting the previous Twitter post and replacing it with another intended to mislead investigators as well as asking witnesses not to testify against him. Defense attorney Steve Altman was not immediately available for comment.

A second student charged, Molly Wei, 19, pled not guilty earlier this month in two counts of invasion of privacy. She reached a plea deal agreeing to testify against Ravi, who allegedly set up the room's camera. Should Wei complete a three-year program on cyberbullying and alternate and cultural lifestyles, as well as 300 hours of community services without any additional legal troubles, the invasion of privacy charges for allegedly watching the video will be dropped, the prosecutors office said.

Read full article on CNN.

Reader's Comments

Comment #1 was deleted by its author on 2011-08-13 17:32
2. 2011-05-24 23:00  
This is appalling! These 2 students actively went out of their ways to mess with this gay man.... then they get off... When will we finally send the message that this kind of discrimination can no longer be tolerated in our society. They get off with a slap on the hands once again.

These 2 students went after this kid because he is gay, he is different than them and should be punished for causing his death.

3. 2011-05-24 23:02  
post 2...no they didn't get off.

But what these two nasty creeps did also reminds me of what I consider as the sleazy comments of that guy Vivian in the Singapore Cabinet just before the elections, to try and smear a gay opponent via a video on YouTube.
4. 2011-05-24 23:25  
Pray for Tyler Clementi.
5. 2011-05-25 13:58  
The plea deal with the co-accused in this case is another example of systemic corruption of the Justice System in the U.S, as any Prosecutor worth his or her salt should have been able to ensure she was sufficiently punished,..she was let off!
Comment #6 was deleted by its author on 2011-05-26 14:43
7. 2011-05-26 14:43  
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't filming someone without his/her consent considered a gross invasion/violation of privacy under US laws???
8. 2011-05-26 21:13  
@uranusvenus "Pray for Tyler Clementi". Great idea!
How's this for starters - Dear all loving and all powerful God, who because You are all powerful and all knowing, knew what was going to happen and watched with Your arms folded and did nothing, we Your sinful and undeserving creations implore You, almighty saviour to er, well since Tyler is dead now, we implore you in Your loving mercy to er...gee I don't know what. But I sure feel nice and smug saying this prayer to you. Amen.
9. 2011-05-28 01:07  
so down to see this new!!
Every corner does has its own story.
If you are down, participate activities, go out PLAY like how we did during childhood. Don't commit suicide! Stay optimistically
10. 2011-06-05 10:09  
# 1 - "BUTT BUDDIES" - a terribly enlightened thing to say. How homo-erotic.

#5 - what "systemic corruption of the Justice system in the US" are you talking about? Are you sure you are not talking of China? Where do you get the idea that the US is corrupt???

Dharun Ravi, as well as Molly Wei should be made to bear the consequences of their action, but certainly not with jail time. This is a college prank sadly gone too far, but their criminalization is not necessary. If the intent to cause death via suicide cannot be established, then this must be treated as another college prank gone too far. Lessons must be learned from this, and I think the US Justice department, as well as the LGBT groups in the US, is adept at making an example of this case so as to teach others a lesson without having to criminalize these 2 hapless individuals.
Comment edited on 2011-06-05 10:18:20
11. 2013-02-05 19:56  
Wonder whether hotonid would be so forgiving if he had been the one whose privacy had been invaded in such a depraved way. Actions that lead someone to commit suicide can never be classified as a college prank gone too far. If that is to be the case , then college students should be allowed to violate all laws pertaining to everything. What if a group of students ran you over with their car for a good laugh hotonid ? Would you then say college prank , if you survive , or end up in a wheelchair for life ?

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