Former Rutgers student: I did not cause gay roommate's suicide

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 23, 2012 3:14 PM

By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tyler Clementi's family renewed its praise on Friday for the hate crimes conviction of former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, speaking out a day after Ravi said he did not cause his gay roommate to commit suicide.

Ravi, who was convicted of hate crimes for using a webcam to spy on Clementi's gay encounter in their freshman dormroom, told ABC's "20/20" his actions were "wrong" and "stupid."

Still, he said that what he learned during the trial convinced him he was not responsible for Clementi jumping to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010, three days after the snooping incident.

"That's giving me comfort now," Ravi, 20, said in the interview broadcast on Thursday.

"I wasn't the one who caused him to jump off the bridge," Ravi told ABC.

"He didn't even care about this... He had bigger problems in his life."

Ravi, who was not charged in Clementi's death, used a webcam to covertly see Clementi, 18, kissing an older man and used Twitter and other social media to publicize it.

He faces 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 21. The prosecutor said she would make her sentencing request after speaking with the Clementi family and the other man, identified only as M.B.

On Friday, the Clementi family in a statement praised the jury that convicted Ravi on all 15 counts.

"Our family believes that the jury reached the correct verdict," said Joe Clementi, whose son told him he was gay shortly before going to college.

"In this digital world, we need to teach our youngsters that their actions have consequences, that their words have real power to hurt or to help," added Jane Clementi, Tyler's mother, in the statement. "They must be encouraged to choose to build people up and not tear them down."

(Editing by Paul Thomasch)