Roommate Indicted in Rutgers Suicide Case

He is charged with invasion of privacy, bias and evidence and witness tampering.

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP/Handout
    Dharun Ravi (inset right) was indicted in connection with the case of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who killed himself after his sexual encounter with another man was streamed on the Internet. Clementi supporters held a vigil for the young man after his death (main photo).

    The Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on two men having a tryst -- one of whom later killed himself -- has been indicted on a hate crime charge in a case that brought nationwide attention to gay suicides.

    Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan on Wednesday said a grand jury has indicted Dharun Ravi, 19, on 15 counts stemming from the September 2010 incident. The charges include invasion of privacy, evidence tampering and witness tampering.

    Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who was Ravi's roommate, jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, days after Ravi and another student allegedly used the webcam to peek at Clementi having a liaison with another man.

    Clementi was an 18-year-old violinist in his first weeks of college.

    The indictment accuses Ravi of targeting Clementi because of his sexual orientation.

    His family said in a statement Wednesday that the indictment "spells out cold and calculated acts against our son Tyler by his college roommate. ... 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."

    Advocacy group Garden State Equality said in a statement that the indictment "is in the best interests of justice" and sends a message that the alleged spying incident is not "merely a prank."

    The grand jury charged Ravi with several invasion of privacy and bias charges, plus three counts of evidence tampering and one count of witness tampering.

    Prosecutors said Ravi "attempted to mislead investigators and witnesses in various ways" during the investigation.

    Specifically, Ravi is accused of deleting a tweet that had alerted his followers to watch Clementi online, and replacing it with a "false post ... intended to mislead the investigation," prosecutors said.

    He also allegedly tried to convince witnesses not to testify against him.

    A message left with Ravi's attorney was not immediately returned.

    Ravi had already been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy last year, and the charges announced Wednesday were after the case was presented to a grand jury.

    Another former Rutgers student, Molly Wei, was also charged last year with two counts of invasion of privacy, but her case has not been presented to the grand jury.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY