15 charges for US student in gay suicide case
A student accused of secretly recording his roommate having sex with a man has been charged with 15 offences.
Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, jumped to his death last September after Dharun Ravi, 19, allegedly filmed him and showed the footage to classmates.
Today, a grand jury indicted Mr Ravi, of Plainsboro, on 15 charges, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, witness tampering and tampering with evidence.
Mr Clementi, a first year student, was so upset after discovering he had been filmed that he jumped from the George Washington Bridge.
His death sparked a national conversation about homophobic bullying and LGBT teen suicides.
Prosecutors say that Mr Ravi filmed Mr Clementi with the intention of intimidating him because of his sexual orientation and streamed the footage.
They claim he then tried to cover up what he had done by deleting tweets and asking a witness not to give evidence against him.
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It is alleged that online messages posted by Mr Ravi suggested he was not happy about having a gay roommate.
Another student who allegedly viewed the footage, Molly Wei, 19, of West Windsor, was also charged with invasion of privacy. Her case is not currently before the grand jury.
The Clementi family said in a statement given to the Star-Ledger: “The grand jury indictment spells out cold and calculated acts against our son Tyler by his former college roommate.
“If these facts are true, as they appear to be, then it is important for our criminal justice system to establish clear accountability under law. We are eager to have the process move forward for justice in this case and to reinforce the standards of acceptable conduct in our society.”
New Jersey gay rights group Garden State Equality welcomed the charges.
Chairman Steve Goldstein said: “Without question, the indictment is in the best interests of justice and in the best interests of students across New Jersey, for their potential bullies will now think harder before demolishing another student’s life.”