Dharun Ravi, the ex-roommate of Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University pleaded Not Guilty to 15 counts of criminal charges yesterday in a New Jersey courtroom.
Which is strange since Ravi found himself the ex-roommate of Clementi only after he cyberbullied him into committing suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New Brunswick on September 22 of last year.
Ravi attempted to film and broadcast Clementi having sex with another man on two separate occasions. Clementi complained to school officials about the treatment he was forced to endure in the school’s dorms, but to no avail.
All of this is documented via online forums, and Ravi’s own Twitter account. As far as we’re concerned here, and we hope the judge agrees, there’s really no escaping the blame here for Ravi.
At Ravi’s arraignment, his attorney, Steven Altman, informed the court that he hasn’t had much time to sort through the evidence prosecutors have provided him, which includes 88 computer disks of material, 1,600 pages of documents and a list of more than 100 possible witnesses.
During his eight-minute court appearance Monday, Ravi did not speak and entered his not guilty pleas through Altman.
The most serious of the charges Ravi faces is bias intimidation, which alleges he acted because his roommate was gay.
Ravi – appearing before Berman in a dark blue suit and a red tie with blue stripes – could get up to 10 years in prison if he’s convicted on that charge alone.
Ravi is also charged with invasion of privacy and witness and evidence tampering after he used a webcam to surreptitiously watch Clementi’s rendezvous with a man in their dorm room.
Altman did not speak to reporters after the hearing but maintains his client committed no crimes.
Ravi remains free on $25,000 bail.
Molly Wei, Ravi’s accomplice in the broadcast sessions has made a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time by testifying against Ravi in court. While we appreciate that this will help ensure a conviction against Ravi, we have extreme reservations about Wei escaping sentencing of her own. After all, it was Wei’s computer that was used to broadcast Clementi’s intimate moments online.
It is extremely disappointing to see both Ravi and Wei attempt to shirk responsibility in the death of their classmate.
Good luck with that “not guilty” plea, Ravi. You’re going to need it.