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Ex-Student Convicted In Rutgers Spying Case: 'I'm Very Sorry About Tyler'

Dharun Ravi leaves the courtroom in March.
Jerry Mccrea
Dharun Ravi leaves the courtroom in March.

"I'm very sorry about Tyler," Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student convicted of a crime for spying on his roommate, tells The New Jersey Star-Ledger this morning. "I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn't hate Tyler and I knew he was okay with me. I wanted to talk to his parents, but I was afraid. I didn't know what to say."

This is the first time we're hearing from Ravi because during his high-profile trial, he did not take the stand. But Ravi's case garnered national attention, because shortly after Ravi used his webcam to try to spy on his roommate having sex with a man, Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

Mark Di Ionno, the Star-Ledger columnist who interviewed Ravi, describes him as "perpetually sad."

The full interview is worth a read; it's worth clicking over. That along with The New Yorker's long-view of the case from February should give you a nuanced understanding of the case.

During trial, one thing that became clear was that Clementi became very much aware of Ravi's spying and he became aware that Ravi was publicizing his personal life on Twitter. Here's a bit from Star-Ledger piece that gets into that part of the story:

"Ravi says the tweet he sent to friends suggesting they tune into his webcam to see Clementi with M.B. was a joke, but one in which he severely underestimated the effect on Tyler.

"'I knew my friends would think it was a joke because they know my sense of humor,' he said. 'But eventually I thought it was stupid, so I went back into the room and pointed the camera back at my bed.'

"Asked this question, "What were you thinking?' Ravi candidly stated, 'I wasn't.'"

"'At that point, I got caught up in what I thought was funny, and my own ego.'"

But Ravi insists that what he did was not done out of hate.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Content
  • A Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate has been found guilty of intimidation based on sexual orientation and other crimes. Tyler Clementi jumped to his death after learning that Dharun Ravi had been spying on him.
  • Dharun Ravi, who was accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. Tyler Clementi, the spying victim, committed suicide in September 2010.
  • A New Jersey jury found 19-year-old Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi guilty of a hate crime for using his webcam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi. Clementi was having an intimate encounter with another man in their dorm room and a few days later he committed suicide. Host Michel Martin discusses the case with law professor Jessica Henry.