Roommate indicted in Rutgers suicide

A former Rutgers University freshman was indicted Wednesday on a hate crime charge after allegedly using a webcam to spy on a same-sex encounter involving his roommate, who committed suicide shortly afterward in a case that started a national conversation on bullying.

April 20, 2011 2:21:03 PM PDT
A grand jury has charged a former Rutgers University student with bias intimidation for allegedly using a webcam to spy on his male roommate's intimate encounter with a man.

Dharun Ravi was charged with two counts of invasion of privacy and two counts of attempted invasion of privacy.

In September of 2010, he was accused of setting up a webcam without permission to view his roommate Tyler Clementi and another male individual.

The account took place on several occasions.

Clementi later committed suicide when the content of the video became public to fellow students.

Additionally, Ravi has been charged with two counts of second degree bias and two counts of third degree bias as well as three counts of tampering with evidence, three counts of hindering his own apprehension and one count of witness tampering.

Ravi has since withdrawn from Rutgers. Clementi's suicide brought national attention to suicide among gay and lesbian youths.

"I heard Mr. Ravi say he was sorry, he didn't mean for it to go that far," said Joe Begonis, a Rutgers student.

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

According to the indictment, Ravi deleted a Twitter post letting others know how they could view a second encounter involving Clementi and replaced it with a false tweet; deleted text messages sent and received by witnesses; and gave false information to police - all actions intended to mislead investigators.

If convicted of the most serious bias charge, Ravi could face five to 10 years in prison.

Ravi's roommate Molly Wei was also charged. Her case has not been presented to a grand jury.

The Clementi family released the following statement:
"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."