Rutgers Student in Clementi Spy Case Spoke of 'Viewing Party,' Says Pal

Monday, March 05, 2012

A friend says a former Rutgers student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man told her there was going to be a "viewing party" to watch the liaison.

Dharun Ravi sent a text message to a friend about a webcam viewing party with “Baccardi and beer” on Sept.21, 2010, the night before his roommate Tyler Clementi killed himself.

The text was sent to Michelle Huang, a high school friend of Ravi who attends Cornell University. Huang testified Monday in the Rutgers webcam spying trial.

Ravi is charged with several counts of invasion of privacy, hindering an investigation and bias intimidation, a hate crime that carries a 10-year sentence.

“OMFG, people are having a viewing party with a bottle of Baccardi and beer in this kid’s room for my roommate,” he said via text message to Huang. 

Ravi had sent out a tweet saying his roommate had asked for use of his room and dared his Twitter followers to connect to his video chat account to see the roommate and his male lover.

“He was older and creepy and [definitely] from the internet,” Ravi texted.

When Huang suggested the older gay man may visit Ravi while he sleeps, Ravi replied “omg, everyone keeps telling me that” and then explained that he had a computer alert system set up to detect if anyone got on his bed when he wasn’t there. He went on to say “my webcam checks my bed. Hahah. I got so creeped out after Sunday.”

Huang replied “that’s so cool” and Ravi then quipped “yeah, keeps the gays away.”

Ravi’s defense attorney, Steven Altman, asked Huang if they were joking, and she said yes.

“Referring to your comment, ‘watch out, he might come for you when you’re sleeping’ did you understand that people were kidding around and joking with Dharun?” Altman asked Huang. Again, she replied yes.

Ravi’s state of mind is a key component of the defense strategy. To be found guilty of the most serious charge, bias intimidation, the prosecution must show that he targeted Clementi specifically because of his sexual orientation and that he did it to shame or hurt him in some way.

After Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge, Ravi sent out tweets and texts that contradicted those he had sent out days before. Huang asked him about the webcam viewing party, and he texted a message that said he had made it up.

With the Associated Press


Comments [9]

John P.

What on earth are they boys do in the cramped their rooms and in addition to all the fathers are not even the ghosts of so many claim that it is so great observatirio theme in universe?

Mar. 08 2012 01:01 PM

Ravi is on trial for invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. He had a webcam focused on Clementi's bed - to me that's clearly an invasion of privacy. As or bias intimidation, I think may also have come out during the trial as well.
The defense has given two different explanations of what has happened. Either it was a harmless prank or the camera was there because Ravi was nervous about the person Clementi had invited. Which is it? They are both very different.

Mar. 06 2012 05:28 PM

Tyler Clementi exercised poor, unsafe judgement in bringing a 30 year old man into his dorm room to engage in sexual activity. These were two very young men, living in small quarters and one is bringing in a stranger to act out with sexually. Its obvious Clementi had issues.

Ravi didn't commit a hate crime; he did however commit a crime. He is 18, too, he is not hateful, the prosecution has absolutely failed in its case regardless of what most posters "feel" has been proven. One can be uncomfortable with gay sex and not be hateful of the person engaging in it with strange, older men, a person inviting danger into an equally shared space.

Clementi brought danger home in the form of a stranger. It went against his good boy image, he got caught and his two worlds collided and his psyche couldn't handle it. That's not Ravi's fault that his secret life caused him such pain. Nor is it society's fault in the form of homophobia. Its no one's fault except the guy who chose death.

Mar. 06 2012 07:48 AM
Mary Thompson

I think they need to send this Ravi to prison. Cruel and inhuman behavior should not be tolerated just because it has been tolerated in the past. And no I don't think it's just a stupid prank. And no I have never done something as cruel as this and called it a prank. If you have than you need to take a good look at yourself.

Mar. 06 2012 12:57 AM
VH from Long Island

I only have a hunch (and no evidence whatsoever), but I suspect Ravi thought that he was playing a harmless prank. Little did he know how deadly the results would turn out to be. If anything, Ravi is guilty of being young and stupid. I don't intend this to serve as a mitigating factor. It just seems to me that this terrible prank turned out so tragically wrong. A young man (Clementi) dead. Another young man (Ravi) whose life will probably most certainly be turned upside down. Growing up is hard, but does it have to take something like this to make the point?

Mar. 05 2012 07:57 PM

Today's testimony contains the smoking gun for the bias intimidation charge, which until now has been missing.

Ravi said "“Yeah, keep the gays away.”

Guilty on all charges.

Mar. 05 2012 06:17 PM
Political Pop from america

wow i hope he doesnt end up in jail we have all done something stupid before he just got carried away with it that he forgot he was breaking the law

Mar. 05 2012 06:01 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn

Hi, Bullying and/or discrimination has always existed. I feel very sad for Mr. Clementi's family. If his room mate's behavior drove him to commit suicide, the roommate should be punished. No one should care what a person does in their bedroom. No one should be judged/ridiculed because of the type of people they like or not like, are sexually attracted to. Eugenia Renskoff

Mar. 05 2012 05:09 PM

Dharun Ravi is such a poor excuse for a human being that it's actually difficult to tell whether he's guilty of bias intimidation.

(It's obvious on the face of the basic facts that he is guilty of the other charges against him.)

From what's been publicized so far, it's unclear whether he would have behaved just as stupidly and obnoxiously with a straight roommate.

What a shame that pure intimidation isn't a crime, no matter what the sexual orientation of the victim. Because Dharun Ravi is a victimizer - no doubt about that.

I suppose the jury can decide for itself whether he's guilty of bias. I hope they decide he is.

Mar. 05 2012 01:30 PM

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