Clementi’s roommate got a get-out-of-jail-free card

After hearing of the death by suicide of Rutgers University first-year Tyler Clementi, I did some research.  According to The New York Times web site, Clementi’s roommate, Dahrun Ravi, was charged with four counts of invasion of privacy, and he was set free on $25,000 bail.

Ravi was charged with his first two counts of invasion of privacy “to view and transmit a live image,” and then with another two “for trying a similar live feed on the internet.”  

Ravi made out like a bandit here, considering the fact that these charges neglect to state that not only was Clementi’s sexual orientation revealed to anyone with an internet connection, but his encounters with his partner were being shown to the whole world as well.

These events are what caused 18-year-old Clementi to kill himself, and all New Jersey can do is give his roommate a maximum of five years in jail if charged with the worst offense possible?

That is completely unjust.

There is no way Ravi had good intentions for doing this.  Ravi made numerous posts to his Facebook page and Twitter account about Clementi’s personal life with the blatant intention of embarrassing him. One post read, “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.” Another said, “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

It is painfully obvious that by doing things like this, there will be negative outcomes.  It is a shame that it is too late to help Clementi deal with this.

With that, I ask if a maximum of five years (only by receiving the worst charges possible) is enough punishment for someone who drove another person to kill himself? No way.

If Clementi were my son, I would not settle for anything less than Ravi being charged with manslaughter.

According to, the definition of involuntary manslaughter is as follows: “In order for a person to be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter the government must prove that someone was killed as a result of an act by the person; Second, in the circumstances existing at the time, the person’s act either was by its nature dangerous to human life or was done with reckless disregard for human life; and, third, the person either knew that such conduct was a threat to the lives of others or knew of circumstances that would reasonably cause the person to foresee that such conduct might be a threat to the lives of others.”

Did Clementi kill himself because of what Ravi had done? Yes. Could Ravi have had any idea of how dangerous his actions were? Well, considering Rutgers requires all students to read their University Code of Student Conduct (which clearly states the rules and regulations for the harassment to other students on page 2 in Appendix 4), I would say yes. Could Ravi have known of other circumstances where harassment like this caused a threat to another’s life? With the newly established “Project Civility” campaign on campus, that answer is a “yes” too.

A charge of involuntary manslaughter is what Ravi deserves, not five years in jail and $25,000 bail.  What lesson does that teach him?  Absolutely nothing! He is practically being given a get-out-of-jail-free card, and that is horrific.


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