new details emerge in tyler clementi suicide case

An update in the continuing criminal case against former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi, who is accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man. His roommate, Tyler Clementi, later committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge: More Complex Picture Emerges in Rutgers Student's Suicide.

Hundreds of pages of court documents filed by Ravi's attorney last week reveal a more complex picture of Ravi and Clementi's awkward relationship, the growing tension between the roommates over Clementi's sexuality, and the events leading up to his death. Some of the new details about the case include:
  • Clementi told his family he was gay shortly before leaving for college and received a mixed reaction from his parents. "It's a good thing dad is ok w/it or I would be in serious trouble/ mom has basically completely rejected me," Clementi wrote in another instant messaging chat with a friend.

  • Ravi used his computer skills to deduce Clementi was gay as soon as Rutgers sent him the name of his new roommate. He used Clementi's e-mail address to learn he had frequented web pages for gay men. "Most gay person I've ever seen," Ravi wrote in an Aug. 22, 2010, computer chat with a friend.

  • After they moved in together, Clementi and Ravi spent time in their room chatting on their computers with friends about their tense living arrangements. Clementi said Ravi would not change his clothes in front of him. "He knows I'm gay and wow he changes his pants inside of his closet ... it's the most awk thing you've ever seen," Clementi wrote in an instant messaging chat with a friend.

  • While Ravi made fun of Clementi being gay, Clementi made fun of his roommate's Indian heritage. "His (family) is sooo indian/ first gen americanish . . . just like . . . first son off to college . . . his rents defs owna dunkin (donuts)," Clementi wrote in an Aug. 28 chat with a friend the day he moved into the dorm.

  • Ravi and Wei were the only ones watching when they turned on the webcam in Clementi's room on Sept. 19, according to a transcript of Wei's statement to investigators. They stopped watching the webcam, but then turned it on a second time with four other people in the room: Wei's roommate and three female friends. Wei told police they turned off the computer immediately after seeing Clementi and his guest shirtless and kissing.

  • On Sept. 21, Ravi attempted to use the webcam a second time but failed. Before the attempt, Ravi allegedly used other students' computers to check the angle of the webcam, according to investigators' testimony to the grand jury. One student living in the dorm said Ravi wanted the webcam pointed at Clementi's bed. Another female student said Ravi used her computer to check the camera was operational.

  • Clementi told a friend he was not too bothered when he first learned his roommate had briefly turned on the webcam and saw him kissing another man. "When I first read the tweet I defs felt violated/ But then/ When I remembered what actually happened ... / Idk (I don't know) ... /Doesn't seem soooo bad lol," Clementi wrote in a Sept. 20 chat with a friend. However, Clementi eventually reported the incident to Rutgers officials and requested a new room. He also learned Ravi allegedly tried to turn on the webcam a second time and send out a Twitter message to friends telling them when to watch.

  • Frankly, it sounds they were two typical freshmen roommates trying to deal with each other's differences. We know Ravi was uncomfortable with the fact that Tlyler was gay. Meanwhile, Tyler was making fun of Dharun's Indian heritage. It's all f@#ked up, but none of it should have led to Dharun Ravi's gross violation of Tyler Clementi's privacy, or the tragedy that followed.

    The case is set to return to Superior Court in New Brunswick on September 9. More here: New details revealed in Rutgers webcam suicide case.

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