NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A former Rutgers University student entered a not guilty plea Monday in response to charges he set up a webcam to spy on his roommate during a same-sex encounter.
Days after the incident, the roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Dharun Ravi remained silent during his arraignment in a Middlesex County courtroom on Monday, reports CBS 2′s Jay Dow. The 19-year old is accused of remotely activating his webcam in September to spy on a same-sex encounter involving his roommate inside their dorm room.
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Ravi entered a not guilty plea to several criminal charges, including the most serious, bias intimidation, which alleges that Ravi acted because Clementi was gay.
“Mr. Ravi, no need to reply. I tell everybody this. You must reappear that day, that day at nine o’clock,” Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman said.
The court appearance was brief, but the Clementi family — joined by one of Tyler’s brothers, who bears a striking resemblance to Tyler — were in the courtroom and their short statement afterward spoke volumes about their desire to see Ravi face a stiff punishment.
“Today, Mr. Ravi is being arraigned on multiple counts alleging criminal acts against our son, Tyler. Our family is grateful for the active work of the prosecutor’s office in this case. We are eager to see the criminal justice process move forward,” said Joe Clementi, Tyler’s father.
The last time the Clementis spoke was earlier this month following a court appearance for 19-year-old Molly Wei. Prosecutors said she and Ravi watched the webcam encounter from her dorm room.
She accepted a plea deal, and entered a pre-trial intervention program, which will allow for the criminal charges against her to be dropped if she upholds her end of the agreement. That could include her testimony against Ravi.
The case, which rekindled the national conversation on bullying at school, has drawn strong reaction on the Rutgers campus.
Ravi’s lawyer has already gone on record saying he looks forward to Wei’s testimony, arguing it will prove his clients actions were not done with bias. Ravi is due back in court on July 25.
If Ravi is guilty, what would the appropriate punishment be in this case? Sound off in our comments section below…