Skip to main content

Roommate indicted in Rutgers University suicide case

By Jesse Solomon, CNN
Click to play
Roommate charged in Rutgers suicide
  • Dharun Ravi was indicted Wednesday on privacy and bias charges
  • A grand jury handed down a 15-count indictment against Ravi
  • He has been charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence
  • Tyler Clementi killed himself after his sexual encounter with another man was broadcast online

(CNN) -- The roommate of the Rutgers University freshman who killed himself after his sexual encounter with another man was broadcast online was indicted Wednesday on privacy and bias charges, the prosecutor of Middlesex County in New Jersey announced.

A grand jury indicted Dharun Ravi, 19, on 15 counts including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering, and hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Ravi's attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

The indictment alleged that Ravi secretly viewed and streamed online the encounter between his roommate, Tyler Clementi, and another man in September of last year. Authorities said Ravi allegedly secretly placed a camera in the room and accessed it remotely.

Ravi "then provided others an opportunity to view the encounter," Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said in a statement.

Two days later, Ravi attempted to view a second encounter between Clementi and the same male, alerting others on Twitter of the planned meeting, the statement said.

Ravi is accused of then deleting the tweet and replacing it with a false tweet in order to mislead the investigation, according to the statement.

Clementi's body was recovered from the Hudson River on September 30, more than a week after he jumped from the George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River separating New York from New Jersey. He was 18.

Molly Wei, 19, was also charged with two counts of invasion of privacy in relation to the case, prosecutors said.

"The grand jury indictment spells out cold and calculated acts against our son Tyler by his former college roommate," Clementi's family said in a statement Wednesday. "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."

The case exposed the issue of bullying on school campuses and has fed anti-bullying efforts across the nation.

In October, less than a month after Clementi's suicide, President Barack Obama released a taped video message condemning such acts. "You are not alone," the president says. "You did not do anything wrong.

"You didn't do anything to deserve being bullied and there is a whole world waiting for you filled with possibilities," Obama adds.

In November, Clementi's family consented to the use of his name on federal anti-harassment legislation called the "Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act." The proposed law would require schools that receive federal student aid "to create policies prohibiting the harassment of any student," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey.