Lawyers for Dharun Ravi, the roommate of the late Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, have asked a New Jersey judge to dismiss charges against their client, who surreptitiously taped Clementi during a romantic encounter. Ravi, now 19 years old, stands charged with intimidation, witness and evidence tampering, and invasion of privacy for allegedly targeting Clementi because of his sexual orientation, and the role his actions played in Clementi’s suicide last year at the age of 18. But new evidence and witness testimony submitted to the court, including instant message conversations, provides an uncomfortable peek into the lives of random college roommates with different, narrow worldviews. “Most gay person I’ve ever seen,” Ravi chatted to a friend after doing some Googling on Clementi.
“He knows I’m gay and wow he changes his pants inside of his closet,” Clementi told a friend in a chat about his new roommate. “[I]t’s the most awk thing you’ve ever seen.” He also made jokes about Ravi’s family, calling them “sooo indian/ first gen americanish…his rents defs owna dunkin [donuts].” In other words, typical teen asshole gossip, on both sides.
But the chat records turn tragic in the aftermath of Ravi’s spying, as Clementi grapples with his roommate’s betrayal. “When I first read the tweet I defs felt violated,” Clementi wrote to a friend. “But then… When I remembered what actually happened…Idk…Doesn’t seem soooo bad lol.” Two days later, he jumped off of the George Washington Bridge.
Ravi is due back in court on September 9.
New details revealed in Rutgers webcam suicide case [New Jersey Star-Ledger]