Tyler Clementi’s roommate, who secretly videoed him in a sexual encounter days before he leapt to his death off the George Washington Bridge was indicted today on 15 counts, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and tampering with evidence by a grand jury in Middlesex County. Yes, prosecutors say Dharun Ravi not only spied on Clementi’s most private moments, but he then tried to cover up what he did, by destroying evidence, and sending false tweets in an effort to throw police off his trail, according to the indictment released today.
Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein had this to say:
To those who say that Mr. Ravi’s conduct was merely a prank that students are apt to pull – and that somehow he should not receive a tough sentence – we say that’s nonsense. That heinous philosophy has tragically done so much
to create a bullying epidemic in our state and nation in the first place.
Ravi and Molly Wei, who allegedly participated in the scheme to spy on Clementi are accused of secretly observing Clementi and a partner in the dorm room he shared with Ravi, and streaming it as it was happening via internet. Both Ravi and Wei have withdrawn from Rutgers, which means there cannot be a university disciplinary hearing on their actions. The grand jury has not seen evidence against Wei yet; she may later face charges of her own.
Clementi’s parents intend to sue Rutgers University.
Clementi’s death rocked New Jersey. As awful, and as sad and frustrating it was, it was only one of a chain of torments young people, particularly gay young people, have had at the hands of others. New Jersey’s loss of student and musician Tyler, just 18, helped propel the NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights and federally, the anti-bullying Tyler Clementi Act, which it must be said, some right-wing media describe as a “serious threat to free speech”.