Today, Dharun Ravi is set to be sentenced in a case that, by all accounts, has been not standard from beginning to end.
Ravi, now 20, was the roommate of fellow Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, 18, when Clementi took his own life nearly two years ago. Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge, an event that was both the culmination of and the start of the strange legal saga that will determine the fate of Dharun Ravi.
A tangled mess of circumstances soon arose complicating the way the case was perceived by the public and handled by authorities and ultimately, the judicial system. It soon became apparent that what transpired between the two college freshman was a bizarre series of events, and one that may have driven Clementi to his final tragic act- causing suffering and uncertainty for both families.
In the time leading up to the teen’s death, it appears Clementi and Ravi feuded. And on September 19th, Dharun Ravi and fellow student Molly Wei observed a romantic encounter of Clementi’s via webcam without the young man’s knowledge, from Wei’s dorm room. Ravi later posted to Twitter:
“Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
Three days later, Ravi attempted to view Clementi again as he spent time with a male date- this time, the camera was disabled, either by Clementi or Ravi. But the latter also attempted to recruit viewers through Twitter, posting about his roommate’s actions. Clementi later lodged a complaint with dorm staff, saying:
“I feel that my privacy has been violated and I am extremely uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who would act in this wildly inappropriate manner.”
Not long after that, he posted a suicide note to Facebook. Earlier this year, Ravi was convicted on several charges, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation,tampering with evidence, and witness tampering. In addition to jail time, he faces deportation to his native India at sentencing.