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Rutgers suicide a hate crime? I dunno.

If the story bears out, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei are monsters. The 18-year-old Rutgers University freshmen allegedly invaded the privacy of Tyler Clementi, Ravi's roommate, by streaming live on the Internet a sexual encounter between Clementi and another man. Not once. Twice. Ravi apparently even advertised his alleged voyeurism on twitter. After that second time, Clementi lept to his death off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22. It is right, just and warranted to slap Ravi and Wei with criminal charges for allegedly violating New Jersey's invasion of privacy laws. But hate crimes violations? I know I'm going to get into big trouble with the tribe for this, but I'm not there -- yet.

The New York Post and the Daily News both report that Clementi complained to school officials about his roommate. They also reveal that he sought advice on how to handle the situation on a gay message board and Yahoo!. Yet, so far, it doesn't appear that Clementi complained that Ravi was homophobic or anti-gay or that he felt he was being targeted because he was gay. In fact, in one post, Clementi wrote, "Aside from being an a--hole from time to time, he's a pretty decent roommate." The Post also quotes a student in his dorm who said, "His parents knew he was 'out'" of the closet. Now, I'm no lawyer, but given what we know so far, it seems to me the bar for hate crimes charges is rather high.

Clementi's main gripe was that Ravi was a perverse jerk who took delight in being a 21st century Peeping Tom who invited others to peer through an electronic key hole with him. Much like in the 1999 movie "American Pie." There's a famous scene where one of the four teens seeking to lose his virginity before prom enlists his buddies to link to his bedroom web cam to watch his hilarious bumbling around a beautiful foreign exchange student. The entire school tuned in, much to his chagrin.

Clementi, by all accounts a shy person, wasn't an accomplice in his own embarrassment. He didn't ask to have his private moments made public. Ravi and Wei deserve to be haunted if they took actions that pushed Clementi to end his promising young life. If they broke the law, they deserve punishment. But slapping them with hate crimes violations looks like a mighty big stretch right now.

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 1, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: Learning from suicides of gay youths

Comments

To call Dharun and Molly "monsters" is quite a stretch. They were not homophobes at all. In fact, more and more is coming out from their friends that their intention in monitoring the room was to ensure Clementi's safety because they didn't know the strange older man he was with. C'mon people, they were trying to protect the guy, not hurt him: http://gawker.com/5652167/students-say-roommate-had-no-intention-of-spying-on-tyler-clementi

Posted by: Mateo1970 | October 1, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Agree. More details are needed.

Posted by: rlj1 | October 1, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The article is also erroneous in claiming that Clementi was openly homosexual.

From ABC News: "Friends of Clementi's said that he'd never had a girlfriend in high school and had never come out as gay."

http://abcnews.go.com/US/rutgers-university-students-sexual-orientation-apparently-issue-roommate/story?id=11773331&page=3

Posted by: Mateo1970 | October 1, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

This is most certainly a hate crime. Especially when you relate it to the posts on the face book account. This is one of the most outrageous disregards for a human beings feelings and rights that I think I have ever heard. Its easy to say oh their just kids and they do this kind of stuff. If a "freind" video taped a "friend" and they had a laugh about it that may be one thing, but this is something much more devious and dangerous. I hope they put those kids in jail forever and people get to look and them and see what happens when you are an ignorant, homophobic, racist, take your pick person in the modern world.

Posted by: brent_robinson | October 1, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Ravi's post clearly stated he think Tyler making out with a "Dude" is something to be "yah" about.

Maybe not hate, but obviously "not normal" in his view.

call it whatever you want, a people died because of it, i dunno if 5 year probation is enough for their actions.

Posted by: crislevin2010 | October 1, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The first time they posted made them monsters, idiots and jerks. People who need to be charged and convicted with invasion of privacy. The second time made it a hate crime. The judicial system needs to take the gloves off and hammer these two. Front page news for months and them being let off to prison for about ten years would send a loud and clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated. It might actually put the genie back in the bottle and reverse the path that society is heading down.

Posted by: TBoneNYC | October 1, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone in their right mind defend these two people?They were not trying to protect this young man.If they wanted to protect him then what was the purpose of posting the video online.They did not care about his feelings or his privacy,they were interested in having a laugh at someone else's expense and should be ashamed of themselves.They are college students and should at least attempt to act their age and not like children in grade school who pick on others to make themselves feel better.Belittleing this young man does not make them better people,but shows the world how childish and immature they are.I hope they are held accountable for the hell they caused this young man that drove him to take his life.

Posted by: CJANDTIGGER | October 1, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

To Tyler Clementi's family, I can only hope that they will turn their pain into anger and their anger into action. Peace to you all.

And to Tyler himself, who for one brief moment was fragile and damaged enough to forget that HE was on the right side of morality and was undeserving of this abuse, I wish you much peace in death, Tyler. The kind of peace that was denied to you in this world by an immoral society which seeks to abuse and degrade and dehumanize its gay children, to the point where last couple of weeks alone, 6 gay youngsters have taken their own lives.

And finally, to the heterosexuals in society that either carry out this abuse or do nothing to stop it, I can only wonder how you reconcile yourselves with what you have done and continue to do to all the gay children you created. And how you reconcile that with your souls and your spirits and your gods. And how you have the audacity to scream your heads off about 'morality' while you, en masse, participate in the absolutely vile & immoral treatment of your very own gay offspring. I simply wonder how you are capable of such treatment of others. I simply wonder HOW.

Morality indeed, folks. Morality, indeed.

Posted by: BillJ4321 | October 1, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@Mateo1970: If they were so keen on protecting Clementi from harm, then why did Dharum Ravi's twitter account post the following messages:

1. “Roommate asked for the room till midnight, I went into molly’s room and turned on my wbecame. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

AND AGAIN...later...

2. “Anyone with iChat? I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.”

Now, I'm no expert on intent - but it appears to me that his intention was to betray the confidence and privacy of Clementi, get a few popularity laughs from his friends, and all at the expense of Clementi's emotional well-being. I don't know how you came to your conclusions. Please enlighten us. I don't see ANY consideration for Clementi nor his safety.

Dharum Ravi and Molly Wei deserve whatever they get - hopefully notoriety that they can never escape. They should carry a banner of shame so great they should be forced to make a livelihood out of speaking out against cyber bullying...for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: xavierbrad | October 1, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse


Why don't we just crucify them and get it over with?

Come on, people, it was a stupid college prank.

Like the time my teenage buddies and I threw a string of firecrackers into the back seat a red convertible in which a "dude" and his girl who were going at it heavy.

Dumb, stupid, but a prank, like this, and they were hetro.

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 1, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse


Why don't we just crucify them and get it over with?

Come on, people, it was a stupid college prank.

Like the time my teenage buddies and I threw a string of firecrackers into the back seat a red convertible in which a "dude" and his girl who were going at it heavy.

Dumb, stupid, but a prank, like this, and they were hetro.

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 1, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

BabaOreally, how about I video your wife or sister undressing and put it on the web. How about I show it to the neighbors? Maybe the coworkers too? No harm done right? Just a prank!

Posted by: Kaibelf | October 1, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The "protection" argument doesn't make sense in light of what Ravi actually tweeted. And did he invite his social-media contacts to watch the feeds in order to further ensure Clementi's (or his stuff's) safety?

More likely, he assumed many of his contacts were homophobic, and he used that to get more attention online at Clementi's expense. To think that's OK entails some degree of homophobia, and a lot of depravity. I have a lot of gay friends too, and I would never think of tormenting them online because of it--and that appears to be what Ravi and Wei did, according to what Ravi said online.

If Ravi and Wei contributed substantially to Clementi's death, they should be held accountable for that, to a corresponding degree. If bias was among their motivations, then bias laws should apply. Their punishment should match the amount and nature of their malice, along with the damage they did. I wouldn't take it off the table as a hate crime.

Posted by: derevaun | October 1, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

So what exactly did Molly Wei do in all this. She is constantly mentioned as one of the perpetrators of this crime, but she her involvement is never clarified. It seems to be all Ravi's doing and yet she is being painted with the same brush.

Posted by: wintalfs | October 1, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@Mateo1970
That's a pretty bad argument based on the facts. Ravi and Wei's friends are clearly trying to cover for and defend their two idiot friends for the terrible thing they did.

And @BabaOreally
Look at Kaibelf's post below yours.

Posted by: geeoff1 | October 1, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse


no one is saying it wasn't a case of invasion of privacy.

and anyway, the kid was already performing on a gay web site . . . so how humiliated could he have been?

there is more to this story. who was the older man he was having sex with? why hasn't he come out?

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 1, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

It's preposterous to suggest that Ravi and Wei did this to ensure Tyler Clementi's safety. Had that been their concern, they would have had no reason to transmit the video live over the Internet, while Tweeting others to watch it.

This was by definition a hate crime. Ravi's and Wei's invasion of Tyler's privacy was motivated by Tyler's sexual orientation. They would not have done this had he been straight and hooking up with a female. They committed this crime because he was gay--and that makes this a hate crime.

Posted by: sobedoug | October 1, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

BabaOreally, where are you getting this nonsense about him "performing" anything on a gay website? From any report I've seen, he went on there asking for advice about what to do, and in case you're too myopic to know, not every website with gay content is pornographic. You and Ravi really are cut from the same cloth. Sad, and disgusting.

Posted by: Kaibelf | October 1, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse


kaibelf:

guess you haven't seen this page?

http://gawker.com/5651659/is-this-webcam-spying-victim-tyler-clementis-last-call-for-help

towards the bottom . . .

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 1, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse


kaibelf:

guess you haven't seen this page?

http://gawker.com/5651659/is-this-webcam-spying-victim-tyler-clementis-last-call-for-help

towards the bottom . . .

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 1, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

This was by definition a hate crime. Ravi's and Wei's invasion of Tyler's privacy was motivated by Tyler's sexual orientation. They would not have done this had he been straight and hooking up with a female. They committed this crime because he was gay--and that makes this a hate crime.

---

This is a lie. Did Tyler's being gay make the whole situation that much more titillating for Ravi, yes, but the initial "prank" was the result of Ravi being ousted from his room and because Ravi was known as a bit of an instigator and a rowdy guy.

Molly on the other hand was at worst a passive participant in all this, and is being painted with the same brush as Ravi.

Posted by: wintalfs | October 1, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

They deserve alot more than invasion of privacy charges-they directly caused this persons death-it should be involuntary manslaughter at the least-except all of their actions were voluntary, pre-meditated and with a desire to inflict misery and pain on another-and then have the callous jerk attitude that it was "just a prank"-so you caused someone's death out of pure stupidity? that is no excuse-all of the a-hole college posters here defending them are acting just as guilty-oh and Molly was laughing her ass off while they uploaded the peeping tom footage to the internet -you can be sure-so passive -screw that as a woman she should have either had no part or done something about it-sskkkannkk -to all you loser image freaks that try to make yourselves popular by assassinating anothers character-there will be laws made to deal with your spiteful vindictive jealous hateful assses-what were these 2 prom king and queen at there high schools and had to find new victims to torture in college-where they afraid everyone would see them for the douchbags they really where-these 2 were not mature enough for college life and their irresponsible hateful jealous nasty little "prank" just proved it-they aren't even mature enough for Jr. High-so I hope their biggest fear is fulfilled-while trying to make a laughing stock out of Tyler for their own social promotion they have shown their true nasty colors to the world -and we will not be letting them off easy-no excuses for your hatefulat itudes and cruel intentions -we can only hope for instant karma

Posted by: tahoegemini | October 1, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Molly was laughing her ass off while they uploaded the peeping tom footage to the internet

---

Dude! calm down and stop the hysteria. Wow. You are assuming an awful lot here, and nothing was uploaded anywhere. It was digital spying, same as looking through a window, nothing was recorded or distributed. And you have NO idea what Molly was doing or if she even knew what was happening, or how she feels about all this. She was released on her own reconnaissance and has as of yet no lawyer, while Ravi had to cough up a few thousand in bail and retain a lawyer, so lay off for the moment.

I think you have your own issues to deal with and you have a axe to grind, I'm sorry about that, really, and you have been disrespected in your life, then that is an injustice, but wait for the facts to come out in this case before you fly off the handle and assume an awful lot of facts.

Posted by: wintalfs | October 1, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

BabaOReally,

Are you serious? Stop pretending to be naive. Idk much about that specific site but it's obvious there are plenty of webcam-related sites where people have anonymous cyber sex online. Did you notice how the screen capture didn't show his face? He was described as very shy and there are conflicting reports as to whether or not he was closeted. You're actually comparing his willfull participation on such a website where his face is concealed (and thus identity and reputation is protected) to being secretly taped (some reports say there was sexual activity besides just making out but won't' specify yet) and having it streamed to multiple people without his consent?

You might as well be comparing consensual sex to rape.

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 1, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

It was the same as looking through a window? Nice try but Ravi streamed it to other people and even advertised on twitter for a second attempt. No it was not just "looking through a window", no it was not "just curiosity".

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 1, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

All I see here is a sensitive, intelligent, obviously very talented young man driven to suicide by two perverts who should be expelled so they can take up their rightful careers as carwash attendants and fast food workers.

If they aren't citizens, they should be sent back to India and China respectively -- we have enough of our own perverts here already.

Posted by: Frank57 | October 1, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

All I see here is a sensitive, intelligent, obviously very talented young man driven to suicide by two perverts who should be expelled so they can take up their rightful careers as carwash attendants and fast food workers.

If they aren't citizens, they should be sent back to India and China respectively -- we have enough of our own perverts here already.

Posted by: Frank57 | October 1, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

and by his face being concealed I mean half concealed. and it's grainy webcam quality! You make it sound like he was some kind of online porn star

you recall your own little prank as if that somehow compares with what happened here, when the truth is what you did could've landed you in jail as well, you just weren't caught. But no...don't tell me, if it's in high school or college it's "just a prank" and bullies have a right to bully people too weak to handle it. it's "just the way it is", "boys will be boys". The victims are the ones with the problem, not the people antagonizing others unprovoked.

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 1, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

2 perverts who should learn more about homosexuals while they both are sent to prison. They are responsible for the death of a young man. They have been known to be very arrogant, narcistic, and self absorbed. There is a cover up propagated by Molly Wei's supporters on a number of web sites. She was involved like Ravi. Book em!

Posted by: Jacky1 | October 1, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Forget the hate crime BS. The crime was committed by a couple of sociopaths

Posted by: Steve851 | October 1, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

for the individuals who took ravis word for , red faced accidental voyeur

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/09/29/2010-09-29_rutgers_freshmen_busted_for_spying_on_fellow_students_online_sex_session_officia.html

he sent links out to peers, and even tried it again on a second night and failed.

jail. so vile individuals like dharun can put dharun on the receiving end.

Posted by: lawenforcer | October 2, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Steve851 ~ what crime?

If this student had a Mac desk top or laptop, it has a camera built right into the screen ~ that's so you can turn it on remotely if you are concerned for its security ~ you can pick up the signal from your computer on your I-phone.

This campus is well wired with local and commercial wi-fi, so I'd imagine virtually all the students do this.

I'm sitting here at a Mac with the camera. I have it off at the moment. I could leave it on, walk away, flip the camera on, and I'd see whatever was going on within range of the camera.

EVERYBODY who is anybody KNOWS ALL ABOUT THIS.

The kid said he flipped his camera on, stuff was happening, so he turned it right off. He later on tried to hook it up when his roommate had another guest, but it didn't work.

Wonder why?

Bet his roommate figured it out, or his little buddy who visited him did so ~ hey, he might have known.

In the end there's no surreptitious recording crime involved ~ just the functioning of a normal process on a well-known brand of computer.

This is a case where the nekkid pictures are incidental, not instrumental.

BTW, you probably have one of those hidden cameras yourself. Best you tend to it to make sure someone else on the net isn't watching what you do.

Posted by: muawiyah | October 2, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse


I mentioned our high school "prank" to indicate to you that dumb kids do stupid things sometimes, and as a point of comparison, to show that what these kids did wasn't a "hate" crime motivated by anti-homosexual animus.

btw, the "victim" of our prank was a big, sturdy guy who chased us in his car, across hill and field, in the dark for quite a while . . .

was that an anti-heterosexual hate crime?

you people are so full of hate, it is astonishing.

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 2, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

All I see here is a sensitive, intelligent, obviously very talented young man driven to suicide by two perverts who should be expelled so they can take up their rightful careers as carwash attendants and fast food workers.

If they aren't citizens, they should be sent back to India and China respectively -- we have enough of our own perverts here already.

Posted by: Frank57 | October 2, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

My theory was that the roommate's taping was a passive aggressive way of getting back at Tyler for inviting men into their room.

He knew he was gay before they moved in so if he was anti-gay he would have requested a room change. If hate crime charges are filed it will be because of media and political pressure not based on the law.

Posted by: cleancut77 | October 2, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

are we supposed to be sorry that you were chased after you threw a firecracker into a car when two people were having sex? Is this a joke? Yes stupid kids do stupid things all the time and each incident should be taken as a case to case example that is judged individually. What happened here was an extreme invasion of privacy and a violation of dignity.

Have you ever thought about why there has been continued controversy over some of the freak "accidents" involving college hazing, "pranks", or let's not even get into increased school related violence, shootings, bullying-related suicides. and yet you're the one telling us that we're hateful when you're trying to normalize bullying behavior? I don't personally find your firecracker stunt anywhere near the offensiveness of secretly taping someone's intimate moments and broadcasting it to your friends. Again many news sources are saying now that there was a sexual act besides just making out.

and another person in here is actually buying the argument that dharun "accidentally" started spying on this guy even after agreeing civilly and with no qualms (as far as we know, even from tyler's own online postings) for his roommate to have some private time and thn "accidentally" accesses the webcam to "protect his roommate or to protect his own property"?

Either way it stopped being "incidental" once he started tweeting about broadcasting it.

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 2, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

there is no proof yet that either of these kids were homophobic. so to label it a hate crime is a bit premature. but the problem is that while it's very harmful to just jump on each crime committed against a minority and label it a hate crime unfairly, you do have to wonder about certain things. even dharun himself wasn't homophobic he was surely aware of the controversial nature of homosexuality as viewed by the public to this day, postings by his friends during this incident showed their obvious disgust at Tyler's homosexual activities, asking things such as "how could you go back in there?" "are you all right"? (this has been reported in the press). dharun again may not be homophobic but it's not a stretch at this point to assume even from the thought process of his friends that he knew that tyler being gay would make his prank all the more titillating or shocking, "entertaining" to his friends.

and the aftermath of everything is undoubtedly affected by the fact that tyler was gay. regardless of whether or not dharun is a homophobe. dharun is not responsible for tyler's suicide, that was tyler's choice. but he certainly played a role..

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 2, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

"If hate crime charges are filed it will be because of media and political pressure not based on the law."

If hate crime charges are filed it will be because prosecutors, based on more evidence than is available to us now, believe they have a good chance of obtaining a conviction. Has it ever occurred to you that the perp might not have wanted to put any discomfiture with homosexuality on the official school records by requesting a roommate change?

Posted by: fzdybel | October 2, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Are you Serious?? Did you do any fact checking?? He was streamed only once, not twice. Ravi attempted to do it again to continue to terrorize Tyler Clementi but Tyler caught on to him by then. This is a Hate Crime. Ravi tweeted on Aug 22 that he just found out his roomate was gay and directed his friends to Tyler's postings on a gay website. He knows that a man is coming over to their room the night he sets up the webcam. He knows he is gay and he is targeting Tyler Clementi because of that fact. Ravi and Wei committed the crime with the purpose of intimidating Tyler based on his sexual orientation. That is considered a Hate Crime in the state of NJ. How dare you try to present Ravi as decent..what about all of Tyler's postings about how violated he felt. I really hope investigators see this not just as invasion of privacy but also that this was indeed a hate crime. Based on all of Ravi's tweets it is quite apparent that he knew for a long time that Tyler was gay and that was his main motive when he actually committed the crime against him. I would even like to see the ACLU get involved with this as a civil liberties issue. I am sure spying and broadcasting someone without their consent or knowledge falls under a violation of Tyler's civil liberties. Those two deserve more than just the 5 years for the invasion of privacy. I read somewhere that Tyler had to walk a mile from where he parked his car to get the bridge, I can just imagine what he was thinking about while he walked, how alone he must have felt. You should be posting of tolerance and empathy not defending these criminals. We need to make sure no other gay teens need face the George Washington Bridge alone. 

Posted by: Innyc | October 2, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

What a witchhunt..Sure his room mates were stupid and mean spirited in their actions but should they be guilty of felony criminal charges much less a hate crime? This young man took his own life, his room mate did not throw him off the bridge. I suspect if he had been a member of an evangelical christian sect who commited suicide after having a sexual encounter with a girl was broadcast over the net it would have never made the news.

Posted by: hurt8266 | October 2, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Prank or not, a young man died as a result. The perpetrators should pay for the consequences of their actions, they earned it. Stupidity is not a reasonable defense, a young man is dead as a result of their "prank". I hope they're held accountable and it's lasting and harsh.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | October 2, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

How do we know this kid didn't kill himself because he was jilted by the older guy he was having sex with?

We don't.

His posts re the streaming episode don't seem to be too troubled . . .

And how can anyone delve into the mind of this Ravi guy to determine a definite link to anti-h_omo bias?

You can't.

People went to see a lynching to justify the resentment they feel at most people's revulsion to their "persuasion".

Posted by: BabaOreally | October 2, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

This goes out to the majority of the American population. Stop making up information to support your media-brainwashed views. It has never been said whether the webcam was set up to spy on Tyler or whether it was simply there from the onset (maybe Dharun worried about some security) and Dharun accidentally found out his roommate was gay upon viewing it. The video of Tyler was NOT posted online, it was NOT shown to all of Tyler's intimates, and it was NOT even recorded. It was a livestream on iChat to 50 or less friends of Dharun, as the other 100 were offline. I know this from the first articles published about the case, which seemed to be less ridiculously biased and fact-twisting than the newer ones. No, this does not make Dharun innocent, but you need to know that this was a relatively small scale incident, not equatable to a person showing videos of your sister in bed to everyone she knows (as one person hysterically posted). And to be honest, even if I was that girl, I would not have committed suicide--I would have pressed for charges and lived on. I mourn for Tyler and his family, but I really think that sadly, he committed suicide in a moment of despair that would have passed had he calmed down for a few days.

I agree with the article completely. From the evidence, Dharun and Molly hardly sound like homophobes, and the school they came from has an extremely diverse and open environment. I also agree that Tyler and Dharun seemed to have good relations from the few articles that actually post this positive part, making it unlikely that he wanted to drive him to suicide. As others have said, it's not the most original college prank to film or peep on a friend having sex, regardless of sexual orientation. RIP Tyler, but let's not direct so much hatred at Dharun and Molly.

Posted by: verityx | October 2, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation. The rest of us are just struggling to get by, but you enjoy the easy life by writing this garbage?

Posted by: surgres | October 2, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Face it- "hate crimes" are defined as the liberal press in order to advance their agenda. The only reason people are holding of calling this a "hate crime" is that the roommate, Dharun Ravi, is black. If he had been white, he would have been obliterated by the press. Anyone remember the rush to judgment in the Duke Lacrosse case? Those players didn't even commit a crime and they were found guilty by the press.

Posted by: surgres | October 2, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

First of all verityx Dharun's twitter history shows that he found out Tyler was gay long before the webcam incident. Second of all anyone who buys that he viewed it accidentally the first time and also out of security is beyond naive. First off get your story straight, if it was due to "security issues", then it wasn't "accidental". Who the hell would buy that it was due to security issues? I'm pretty sure anyone with a brain understands that a roommate asking for some time alone for a few hours is going to be intimate with someone and if not, even after CLEARLY agreeing to give your roommate some private time you react by turning on the webcam to watch him, for "security"? You're buying his lies hook line and sinker.

The other hilarious part is that you think it makes much of a difference than 50 people were to see it instead of the world wide web. Some articles tend to exaggerate because it's the media but to me it doesn't make a difference if it was 10 people or 100 people. If that video was posted to a public site, there's no guarantee without the media blowup that it would've gotten many views anyway, but the point was it was out there for SOME people to see beyond Tyler's own consent.

And give me a break BabaOreally

if anything you've shown your true colors with the comment "People went to see a lynching to justify the resentment they feel at most people's revulsion to their "persuasion"

most? last time I checked the issue of homosexuality has america pretty much torn almost 50/50. the prop 8 vote in California proved pretty much that. seems like you're quite touchy on this issue and are part of what you deem as the "majority" of people who are "revolted". news flash, the majority of people disgusted by this news story aren't just gay activists, only a consistent tiny minority probably mostly made up of dharun's friends have been defending him

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 2, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Dharun Ravi outed Tyler on his twitter a month before this whole blowup

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1316911/Tyler-Clementi-suicide-Dharun-Ravi-tweeted-homosexuality-start.html

he knew Tyler was gay before Tyler even asked for some "private time". pretty sure he knew what he was going to find when he turned on the webcam

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 2, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Dharun Ravi outed Tyler on his twitter a month before this whole blowup

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1316911/Tyler-Clementi-suicide-Dharun-Ravi-tweeted-homosexuality-start.html

he knew Tyler was gay before Tyler even asked for some "private time". pretty sure he knew what he was going to find when he turned on the webcam

Posted by: JohnD10 | October 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan should have written that he's no lawyer and stopped, instead of then proceeding to offer a dilettante legal analysis that had no grounding whatsoever in actual bias-crime law.

Whether Clementi was out to his parents is completely irrelevant to a bias-crime charge. Hate crimes laws don't just protect the closeted, Jonathan. Nor does it make any different whether Clementi ever complained that his roommate was anti-gay. Hate crimes laws don't just protect those who have the opportunity to complain beforehand. Whether the roommate was a homophobe is also completely beside the point. Hate crimes laws do not punish people for holding prejudiced opinions.

The relevant inquiry is whether the roommate TARGETED Clementi for the criminal invasion BECAUSE he was gay. In other words, would Clementi have done exactly what he did if Clementi had been straight and having a female friend over? That's not at all clear. The roommate CLEARLY ADVERTISED the streaming video as GAY hookup. That is an indication that the roommate acted BECAUSE OF Clementi's sexual orientation. And if he did, if he broadcast Clementi's private activities because Clementi was gay, that may well be enough to make it a bias crime.

Jonathan, a legal analysis involves more than taking the popular label "hate crime" and then pontificating on what YOU personally think that means. There actually is some law out there to consult. I don't particularly care whether it ends up getting charged as a hate crime. But hate crimes laws are already so misunderstood and demagogued that it is utterly irresponsible for you to add to the confusion by writing those laws when you so manifestly don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 2, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

verityx is as bad as Jonathan in offering a dilettante legal analysis while having no understanding of hate crimes. Proving a bias-motivated crime, people, does not require proving hatred, despite the name "hate crime." It requires proving that the perpetrator acted as he did at least in part because the victim was gay.

verityx is also living in a fantasyland as to the facts. If the roommate streamed the video to 50 friends, you cannot remotely characterize that as worrying about the victim's security with a stranger. It was manifestly voyeurism, and it is not at all clear that the roommate would have been so willing to invade the victim's privacy if the victim had been a standard-issue straight roommate. Maybe he would have; maybe he wouldn't have. That is the question on which bias-crime charges probably depend.

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

cleancut77: My theory was that the roommate's taping was a passive aggressive way of getting back at Tyler for inviting men into their room. ... If hate crime charges are filed it will be because of media and political pressure not based on the law.
______________________

Well, Perry Mason, if you're theory of the roommate's motivation is true--that it was retaliation because Clementi was bringing men into the room--then it IS a hate crime. Your theory would establish that the roommate deliberately targeted Clementi because of the same-sex nature of his romantic activities in the roommate. That targeting would make it a hate crime.

Posted by: uh_huhh | October 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm confused, you lib's keep telling me how natural this whole gay thing is, so why was this guy embarrassed to let anyone find out he was gay? Shouldn't he be parading around campus telling all how great this kind of lifestyle is? Don't get me wrong, the invasion of privacy thing was way out of bounds but according to you intellectuals, there's nothing wrong with this lifestyle so why jump off a bridge?

Posted by: elcigaro1 | October 2, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

If you choose to smack Ravi and Wei on their hands as though they were just being mischevious, that's your right. These two creatures decided to emotionally attack Tyler who only wanted to live without condemnation. The two enjoyed looking down on Tyler because of his sexual preference. They are guilty of invasion of privacy, as well as bullying. There are teens on trial now because a 16 year old young lady hung herself after several "classmates" teased her to her breaking point. I hope those teens and Ravi and Wei pay dearly for being ugly, REAL UGLY.

Posted by: skinfreak | October 2, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Capehart, I hope and pray your baby-making days are over. You'd probably have a heart attack if you discovered one of your kids was gay.

Posted by: skinfreak | October 2, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

At first reading I thought "College prank that went wrong." But after learning of the preparation - internet equipment, camera etc.,it was obvious it was a premeditated crime. First, expel these two then bring in higher authorities and charge them with the highest crime that is legal. They essentially murdered Tyler and they should pay the price.

I hope in trial they have to face the parents of this talented young man. They have ruined four lives - their own and Tyler's parents. Think about that the rest of your lives.

Posted by: Kansas28 | October 2, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow..some of the posters here are just idiots.

It doesn't matter if it wad recorded, taped, streamed, broadcasted..he was being spied on without his consent and that still falls under Invasion of Privacy in NJ. It doesn't matter if any sex was seen in the broadcast because of the angle of the cam, the audio would have still been on the entire time and they would have heard the sex act, that is still considered Invasion of Privacy in NJ. This was a HATE CRIME. Ravi and Wei knew Tyler was gay and that is why they commited the crime. Thus a HATE CRIME..That Molly Wei is just as responsible as Ravi and must be charged with a Hate Crime as well..she does not get any reduced sentence. If Molly Wei had done anything but just sit there and illegally spy on Tyler he may still be alive but she didn't she spied on him for the purpose of intimidating him based on his sexuality..in NJ that is a HATE CRIME..and YES the stream was viewed by others than just the people in the room, he illegally BROADCASTED Tyler Clementi online, who knows how many people recorded it through their own personal comps. But again under NJ law it does not have to be recorded to be invasion of privacy.

Ravi and Wei are KILLERS!!!

Put them away now because in the future who knows how many other people these 2 criminals can terrorize to the point of death.

Ravi and Wei are KILLERS!!

Ravi and Wei are KILLERS!!

Posted by: Innyc | October 2, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I suggest we let the authorities handle this sad case and not try the perps in the court of public opinion. Since I am neither a barrister nor a judge, I am unqualified to state just what their crimes were. That is why we have laws and a legal system.

Posted by: bloommarko4 | October 3, 2010 5:51 AM | Report abuse

I suggest we let the authorities handle this sad case and not try the perps in the court of public opinion. Since I am neither a barrister nor a judge, I am unqualified to state just what their crimes were. That is why we have laws and a legal system.

Posted by: bloommarko4 | October 3, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

This College Prank -- cost this young man his Life!! I agree with a previous poster in that -- put your wife or husband on a webcam and view it not only to your neighbors but for the whole world to see. I guess that would be a prank also. Think for a minute -- if possible -- What if it was your child at the bottom of the George Washington Bridge --- Would it still be a prank -- I doubt it.

Posted by: phyllisr5 | October 3, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

We can demonize Ravi and Wei, and we may be right in doing so, but we may be wrong. But I think the more we argue about them, the less likely we are to look at ourselves. How can we expect our children to treat one another respectfully when we are wretched to one another. Just look at the posts here. Stop. Just stop. Let's treat each other kindly, regardless of our differences. If not for our own sake, then for our children's.

Posted by: seabelly1 | October 3, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The evidence that this is a hate crime is indeed circumstantial. But what is apparent is that this was no ordinary "prank". From reading the twitter messages it seems that Ravi did not like the idea of male gay sex occurring in his dorm room but instead of asking for a room change he choose the ill thought out path of humiliating his roommate to his classmates at Rutgers. Probably in the hopes of making Tyler request a room change (which he apparently did before committing suicide). I believe that Ravi and Molly deserve the maximum punishment deserved by law to serve as a deterrent of future acts of this nature. But lets not overstep the bounds of the reasons why Ravi and Molly did this.

Posted by: madflava | October 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart,

tell me: WHEN are you DUMB-bunnies in the "main-SLIME press" going to HUSH about "hate crimes"? ===> if someone/anyone punches me in the face because i'm NOT "a white person" it is NO better or worse for my face.- instead it is simply a CRIMINAL assault, which is NO different than any other similar criminal assault. - FACT!

face it, SILLY terms like "hate crimes"/"assault weapons"/"aggressive driving"/etc. (MADE UP out of whole cloth, by the press) is WHY less & less people every day read the "main-SLIME press"/the washington COMpost, as we simply do NOT trust you "reporters"/"journalists" any more to simply tell us THE TRUTH, stripped of your nitwittery, leftist bias & DUMB opinions.

as "SGT Friday" used to say on DRAGNET, tell everyone "Just the FACTS".

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | October 4, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I would say if this not a hate crime against gays, then the Tuskegee Experiments against African Americans was good for mankind- because it uncovered how to treat syphilis by not treating it among a few targeted minority. However, as any MORAL human would say- That was an unspeakable immoral act- as is this a hate crime. Why was Ryan Clementi singled out- becasue he was gay- would they have done the same thing to a heterosexual. NO. These despicable sociopathic idiots deserve to get prison time- NO excuses for two morons. Justice for ALL HUMAN BEINGS.

Posted by: billklein1 | October 5, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

To Mateo 1970-
you state "their intention in monitoring the room was to ensure Clementi's safety "
What a bunch of bull- That RAVI moron told his friends "I dare anybody to watch my webcam from ..PM, its happening again." You should be ashamed of yourself defending these despicable sociopathic jerks- they deserve to get the maximumm time in jail.

Posted by: billklein1 | October 5, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Frank 57: "If they aren't citizens, they should be sent back to India and China respectively -- we have enough of our own perverts here already. "

YOU ARE SO RIGHT. Send them back to their sociopathic countries.

Posted by: billklein1 | October 5, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

To Muawiyah: You state"In the end there's no surreptitious recording crime involved ~ just the functioning of a normal process on a well-known brand of computer. "
WHAT BS- THIS PERVERT RAVI- streamlined his roommates private life on the internet and invited his equally disgusting amoral sociopathic friends-(are these all Indians?) for laughs. This is a hate crime- no doubt about it.

Posted by: billklein1 | October 5, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

BabaOreally: "How do we know this kid didn't kill himself because he was jilted by the older guy he was having sex with."
HOW dare you say stuff like that- are you likely a PERVERT LIKE RAVI? PEople like you deserve to be deport to your country of origin.

Posted by: billklein1 | October 5, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Why is everyone using American Pie as a frame of reference? American Pie is a movie, a work of fiction. Please do not make an excuse that these 2 didn't know better because of a movie.

Nightmare on Elm Street is a movie, too, but I'm sure everyone knows what will happen if they try to become a real life Freddie.

Posted by: bigkidnow | October 5, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@elcigaro How would you feel if someone broadcast your sexual encounter for your mother, your father, your priest, your kindergaten teacher and your boss and co-workers and children to see? Would you like that?

Posted by: bigkidnow | October 5, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, what these two did was incredibly wrong and ignorant, and they definitely deserve to be punished for invasion of privacy. However, how can anyone be absolutely sure this is a hate crime? In my opinion, even if Tyler had been straight, Ravi and Wei still would have done what they had done. It seems that they found it funny to exploit an intimate situation, whether it be gay or straight. They got a kick out of embarrassing someone.

Many are saying that it is obvious Ravi is homophobic based on his tweets, but hasn't anyone heard someone say something on the lines of "I saw him making out with his girl. Yay"? People view intimacy and sex as fascinating. Yes, I suppose it is not the best to American Pie or Easy A to support this, but these movies do illustrate this. The characters in these movies are very excited to view a possible sexual encounter on their computer, and in both these movies, the people being watched were heterosexual.

@bigkidnow I know you did not direct your question towards me, but if someone had broadcast my sexual encounter, I, like Tyler, would be upset. I would definitely not find it funny. However, unlike Tyler, I would not jump off the GWB. I would press charges for invasion of privacy, and that would be all I would press charges for. I mean, should I press bias chargers because I'm bisexual? Or maybe they're racist, because I'm Asian?

There is no proof that Ravi and Wei have committed a hate crime, and it is premature to say there is.

Posted by: vcky | October 5, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

vcky; all,

there is NO such thing as a "hate crime". instead there are just CRIMINAL ACTS, as it makes NO difference whatever whether someone kills someone because they don't like Jews/Blacks/Asians/etc or just because they hate the individual.
(there are only 4 reasons that people committ violent crimes: jealousy, greed, lust & because of mental defect/illness. = the VAST majority of such crimes are "at the bottom" over money and/or jealousy.)

frankly, "hate crimes" is a SILLY/FICTIONAL construct of the main-SLIME media, who wants to sell soap/cars/anything & to "draw readership", so that they can FALSELY claim that they are printing "NEWS", instead of the meaningless drivel, political bias & utter nonsense that DYING rags like the NY SLIMES & "the washington COMpost" print daily.

IF they left all the "blood & guts", fact-FREE political commentary & needless sensational bilge out of their papers/TV programs & focused all their attention on FACTS, printing THE TRUTH & "straight news" they would NOT be losing "market share" and/or going bankrupt.
(the NY SLIMES has, as i write these lines, lost 25+% of their readership & about 35% of their advertizing revenues in a little more than TWO YEARS! - we will all soon be saying "so long, farewell" & "it was nice to have known you" to "THE GRAY LADY".)

just my opinion.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | October 7, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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