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Former Rutgers student rejects no-prison plea deal in Tyler Clementi suicide case

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A former Rutgers University student accused of bullying his gay roommate, allegedly leading his victim to kill himself, rejected a plea deal on Friday that would have allowed him to avoid a jail sentence.

Dharun Ravi, 19, is accused of streaming images online of his roommate Tyler Clementi engaged in an intimate encounter with another man. On Sept. 22, 2010, just days after the video was broadcast, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Ravi has received a 15-count indictment, including a charge of the hate crime of bias intimidation, for his alleged actions that led to Tyler’s death, and for trying to cover up it up afterward.

But under a plea agreement proposed by prosecutors, Ravi would have had to plead guilty to the most serious of the 15 charges against him in exchange for the prosecution asking that he face a probationary sentence rather than jail time.

The sentence would have included 600 hours of community service and getting counseling on so-called “cyber-bulling” and understanding alternative lifestyles, said Jim O’Neill, a spokesman for the Middlesex County prosecutor.

The state would also have offered assistance with immigration issues, such as the possible threat of deportation, that may have followed Ravi offering a guilty plea, O’Neill said, adding that Ravi was an Indian citizen with U.S. permanent residency.

Ravi turned the deal down in New Jersey’s Middlesex County Superior Court on Friday, and will now go to trial in February.

If convicted of the most serious charges, which include bias intimidation and privacy invasion, Ravi could face up to 10 years in prison. He is not directly charged with causing Clementi’s death.

Ravi had previously turned down a less lenient plea deal in October that would have seen him facing a prison sentence of three to five years.

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Filed under: New Jersey

29 more reader comments:

  1. this is a really hard topic to understand, I see both sides as a gay man i see both sides

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:39pm
  2. DANG

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:39pm
  3. GOOD! Hope they put him in jail & throw away the key!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:41pm
  4. Even an apology at least would be nice to see from this guy, if anything.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:42pm
  5. im glad something is being done.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:42pm
  6. lock him up!

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:42pm
  7. Well… now we need to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Shld hv never been offered a damn plea to begin with. We hv to make examples of those who bully others until death.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:45pm
  8. Time to come down on him like the Wrath of God! Oh, and makes sure he is walled up somewhere where he will get ass raped on a daily basis.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:49pm
  9. i mean, it’s horrible he bullied him and all, and i’m really sad about what happened to the kid, but is bullying a crime? I’m seriously asking, because it seems to me we have the freedom to say what we want, see the first amendment if you don’t believe me. Again, i’m not discounting what happened to the kid, but it just scares me that i could go to jail for offending someone.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:53pm
  10. o nevermind, i actually read what he did, yeah that’s different, lock him up

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:55pm
  11. @David Bullying is indeed an actual crime. You can be fully prosecuted for bullying others, ESPICALLY when they hurt themselves because of it. And many people misunderstand the FIrst Amendment, You have the freedom of speech, BUT that doesn’t mean you won’t be prosecuted for it. You can’t just say whatever you want without consequence.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:56pm
  12. There is a difference between free speech and hate speech. what he did was malicious. However prosecution must be unsure of getting a conviction if they offered not just one but two plea bargains.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4:59pm
  13. there is no difference between hate speech and free speech. I am free to insult whoever I want, and say whatever I want, the reason this kid is on trail is not because he made fun of him for being Gay. He will go to jail for invasion of privacy, which i support. No matter how much I support equal rights, if he had just called this kid mean names, i could not support any type of legal prosecution.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:01pm
  14. This dude comes off as a real shitbag .. all platitudes aside.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:14pm
  15. Good now a jury of his peers can send him to gaol.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:17pm
  16. Its not an issue of free speach its an issue of privacy.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:20pm
  17. I for one am pleased that he turned down the last plea offering; let it go to trial and hope that his ass sees ten years in the slammer… He might have a different attitude when he see release.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:33pm
  18. oh well, he will make a good bitch n prison

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:39pm
  19. good, I hope they fry his ass.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 5:52pm
  20. He will definately know all he needs to know about being gay after spending ten years in the slammer

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 6:25pm
  21. No freedom is absolute. No one has the absolute right to say whatever they want. That’s a modern social myth. If you say something that leads to a dire situation, you can & WILL be held responsible for your glib mouth. Little Miss Rutgers will make a FINE bitch for some prison daddy- and justice will be served.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 6:34pm
  22. Paul B! Very well stated! Perfect!

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 6:40pm
  23. @David Sinnett, go to Washington DC, or Better Yet, Langley, Virginia, and proclaim that you want to assassinate the President. You will shortly find that your free speech just crossed the line, and you will be arrested and sent to prison… Freedom of Speech is a right in the US, so long as you dont violate OTHERS Civil Rights in the process. If you do, then you can be held responsible for such actions.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 8:27pm
  24. sorry david, I my humble opinion, i believe there is a difference between free speech and hate speech. sure you have the freedom to say what ever you want to anybody, just that it may or may not carry consequences. maybe a teacher should be able to berate your child in front of their classmates for a school year, their classmates in turn say hateful comments towards them too. I guess that is ok? of course this is an extreme example. But if you say, “I am free to insult whoever I want, and say whatever I want”, this is what I think you might mean. Emotional abuse is as devastating as physical abuse. I don’t wish anything horrible to Mr. Ravi, hate only begets hate. He needs to learn a lesson. And if he went to prison, he will sadly be held in high esteem, driving a “Queer” to suicide.

    Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 10:31pm
  25. I hope they throw the book at him.

    Posted on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 1:10am
  26. No responsibility no leniency.

    Posted on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 1:28am
  27. All of you who are saying he deserves to get raped in prison are pathetic, bitter, disgusting people who are no better than he is. I don’t know why I read the comments on these posts anymore because half of you are just spiteful peices of shit.

    That being said, I’m glad he’ll be taking his full punishment in prison.

    Posted on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 3:49pm
  28. There should be absolutely no plea bargain in this case. Ravi should be found guilty, given the maximum sentence, and deported back to India.

    Posted on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 4:17pm
  29. Don’t drop the soap Ravi.

    Posted on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 5:37pm