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Court Seeks to Determine if Homosexual Student’s Suicide was Due to Bullying or Only a Stupid Prank
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The 19-year-old Dahrun Ravi is facing serious charges regarding juvenile behavior as an 18-year-old college student. After he spied on his dorm roommate, Tyler Clementi, making out with another man, he texted a few people about it, and this is believed to have lead Clementi to commit suicide by jumping of the George Washington Bridge. Now, Dahrun Ravi, an Indian exchange student and former student of Rutgers University, is facing 15 counts against him at a New Jersey court, including hate crime charges, and invasion of privacy.

Tyler Clement, a sensitive and talented violin player, had asked Ravi to let him have privacy with his male friend until midnight. Ravi left, but not before clicking on his webcam. Thereafter, he went to the room of his friend, Molly Wei, 19, and they watched Tyler embrace his friend.

In a twitter, Ravi wrote, “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

  
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Two days later, Ravi sent another Twitter and invited friends to watch a similar incident, but neither the first nor the second incident were ever streamed online.

Now Ravi faces charges of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering, and hindering apprehension or prosecution.

The prosecution has denounced Ravi and Molly: “They were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s sexual orientation and they were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s private sexual activity. The defendant’s acts were not a prank, they were mean-spirited, they were malicious and they were criminal.”

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The defense, Steven Altman, has responded that, “Nobody transmitted anything. Nobody reproduced any image of anything. You gotta keep things in perspective. He might be stupid at times, but he was an 18-year-old boy and certainly not a criminal. There was no bullying…He’s not a bigot.”

And is his opening statement, Altman said, “You’re gong to see evidence that Dahrun is not homophobic, not anti-gay. Evidence that he never recorded, never broadcast images of his roommate. He never harassed his roommate, or ridiculed or spoke negatively about his roommate. He thought he was a nice guy and had no problem with him.”



Legal experts and activists are scrutinizing the case, and are regarding the trial as advancing the campaign to end bullying of homosexuals. The trials’ evidence will focus on text messages, tweets, and online chats of Clementi and Ravi. Molly Wei, to avoid jail time, has entered a plea deal to testify against her friend Ravi. Ravi himself rejected a plea deal that would have given him no jail time, but 600 hours of community service, counseling, and an effort to prevent him from being deported back to India.

If he is convicted, Ravi could spend up to 10 years in jail.



 

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