Tyler Clementi's Family Pushing For Stiff Punishment

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.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Defense Will Seek To Get Charges Dropped

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…

Comments (26)
  1. Ralph Kootz says:

    how is this a friggin hate crime? he’s charged with violating his privacy, but he didn’t do nothing to the kid physically.

    1. Seymore says:

      DAH!!!! mental abuse…by showing the video….he violated Tyler’s privacy

  2. Pepe says:

    Unfortuneately, he’ll be found not guily, and Tyler’s suffering from this bullying, will be his fault not Ravi’s. Cause Ravi was driven and forced by the alleged victim to bully him, and post Tyler’s private life on the net. Ravi was forced to make these bad decisions, it wasn’t his fault he has no respect for other people, it’s other people’s fault. Don’t you get it? The judge, the law,and society, will find a loop hole for Ravi to wiggle through. Maybe next year, someone you know will be bullied to death, but hey, don’t worry, it will always be the victims’ fault in this country. Remember interpreting the law is a game, and the judge has to rule on who wins.

    1. Straight and Narrow says:

      No one bullied him….if he wanted privacy he should not have done it in a shared dorm room. Unfortunately Ravi will be made a scapegoat.

  3. Closed Fly says:

    If he kept his zipper up this would not have happened.

  4. Confused says:

    Is it a sin to be gay? Is it a sin to take one’s own life? Is he now in heaven or in the other place?

  5. No Angel says:

    He decided to jumped off a bridge. No one pushed him. It was his choice! The guy was mentally unstable(suicidal), lived life on the edge and engaged in risky behavior. He was probably high on drugs when he jumped off that bridge. He was no angel. Now he ruined 2 young innocent lives. Even his parents frowned upon his orientation. He was a walking(self destructive) time bomb and any little thing would have set him off.

  6. Rutgers Law Student says:

    They were sharing a dorm room. One cannot expect total privacy in a shared dormitory. He should have rented a hotel room. Ravi had a right to put a webcam on his owe computer in his dorm room. Tyler knew there was a webcam on Ravi’s computer. The webcam was out in the open. Not like it was hidden.

  7. Just Curious says:

    Why is the other man that he had intimate encounters with silent? Is he hiding somewhere?

  8. Lakeysha says:

    White boy commits suicide and the color kid is made the scapegoat. If it was the other way around this would’ve been swept under the rug.

  9. Straight and Narrow says:

    Just goes to show you gays and straights should not be rooming together. Just like the military.

  10. Claude says:

    I don’t see this in terms of a straight versus gay issue, but one of cruelty and brutality in general. This was done with malice of forethought, and was wrong for any person to do to another, regardless of orientation. Ravi’s self-centeredness also compromised the future of the female student, who apparently didn’t conspire with him beforehand but got in trouble because he activated the camera from her room. This young man apparently had no basic decency or regard for anyone. He deserves no sympathy, and I’m shocked and disappointed to see that some people are defending him.

  11. eyes wide open says:

    This was a stupid, insensitive prank committed by a teenager, trying to show off to his peers. That it led to Tyler committing suicide is terribly sad and completely unexpected. Now Ravi needs to be punished for his lack of judgement and complete disregard for the feelings of others. That actions have consequences is a lesson he has already learnt in the most extreme way possible.

    But bias hate crime charges? Come on. That is clearly politically motivated to pander to the LGBT community, without really addressing any of their issues, or committing to helping their cause in any way. And some free publicity on the national stage thrown in for the prosecutors. It doesn’t take an Einstein to see that this case is not about justice anymore, it is about agendas.

  12. Joseph Didonato says:

    Ravi needs to be put in jail and so should his accomplice Molly Weii
    When you are broadcasting his sex life on the internet its there for ever.
    What person starting out his or her life wants this broadcasted.

  13. HARLEM GOING HAM says:


  14. Chico says:

    I agree Clementi room was not his own it was shared. If both of them felt uncomfortable with each other they should have both asked for a room change. Rutgers is partially to blame for not offering students room changes. This problem could have been avoided. So many lives affected by this stupid school yard prank….how stupid. If your there to study then study. They probably both had a crush on clementi.

  15. Catholic says:

    It is very sad that Mr. Clementi chose to kill himself; no one forced him to kill himself. Had he received counseling, he might not have been so unhappy about being gay. If Mr. Ravi had pulled this dumb prank on one of my happily gay students, there would have been hilarious demands for screen credit and residuals! Both students were at fault: Mr. Clementi for bringing his sexual partner into the shared dorm room without permission, Mr. Ravi for thinking in his annoyance that his roommate was happily gay.

  16. Bobby says:

    what a waste of tax dollars…

  17. RNYC2011 says:

    Enjoy Rahway State Prison Nancy…I mean Ravi.

  18. Gerry says:

    Does anyone know if the Clementi parents accepted their son’s orientation? Seems odd that someone could be driven to suicide if he came from a loving environment. If they’re Catholic and taught him the Catholic line, maybe they should share the indictment with Ravi.

    1. ProFromDover says:

      Parents may have known and accepted it. Collegiate peers obviously had an issue with it.

    2. RS says:

      So it’s the Catholic’s fault??? I know plenty of good Catholic’s who face just this with their children and they handle it beautifully with love and acceptance. Stick with the topic of bullying. Something you seem to be doing here again Catholic’s Gerry!

    3. badman says:

      it’s a good question, Gerry. If they fostered an environment where he would be afraid to reveal his sexual ID, then they must be feeling very regretful right now. They seem like intelligent, caring people.

      Either way, though. it doesn’t mitigate the responsibility of this Ravi jack@ss. What was he thinking? He really does deserve jail time.

  19. Bell Toller says:

    Mr Ravi is being charged because of his ethnicity

    1. Glenn says:

      He can get on his magic carpet and go home then.

    2. ProFromDover says:

      He’s being charged for crossing the legal line for intolerance.

      Criminals come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

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