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Tyler Clementi's Roommate Indicted in Suicide

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 20, 2011 1:10 PM

Dharun Ravi has been indicted by a New Jersey grand jury for his involvement in the events that led to Tyler Clementi's suicide.

For those who don't recall, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutger's University, jumped off the George Washington Bridge last fall after Ravi used a hidden webcam to stream video of Clementi during a romantic encounter with a man.

Clementi's suicide was part of a national wave of teen suicides induced by anti-gay bullying.

The grand jury indicted Dharun Ravi on multiple counts of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and witness and evidence tampering.

New Jersey is one of the few states that elevate sexual orientation harassment to a criminal level, which is where bias intimidation comes into play.

Even though it carries its own, separate sentence, bias intimidation is a secondary crime in that it requires that a jury first find the defendant guilty of an underlying crime, such as invasion of privacy.

Then, if the jury finds that the crime was motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ethnicity, he can be found guilty of bias intimidation.

Essentially, bias intimidation is a hate crime, which means that the grand jury felt that Dharun Ravi invaded the privacy of Tyler Clementi because he was gay.

As for the other charges, Ravi allegedly asked three witnesses to lie to law enforcement about his actions. He also allegedly misled investigations by deleting a tweet directing followers to the webcam feed of Clementi's date, replacing it with something else.

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