The Rutgers Spycam Case

Hate crime charges, suicide, and subtleties in the case of the gay student at Rutgers.

Dharun Ravi waits for the judge to explain the law to the jury before they begin their deliberations during his trial at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.  Ravi is accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi,  intimate encounter with another man.  Days later  Clementi committed suicide.  (AP)

Dharun Ravi at Superior Court in Middlesex County, N.J. Ravi is accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, intimate encounter with another man. Days later Clementi committed suicide. (AP)

When gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, three weeks in to his freshman year, the story gripped the country. On Friday, the court had its say.

A New Jersey jury found Clementi’s Rutgers roommate, Dahrun Ravi – who had used a webcam to spy on Clementi in an intimate encounter with another man – guilty on fifteen counts, including a hate crime charge that could put him in prison for ten years.

Clementi’s death was tragic. Now Ravi’s conviction is under the microscope. This hour, On Point: crime and punishment in the case of Tyler Clementi.

-Tom Ashbrook


Kate Zernike, national correspondent for the New York Times.

Richard Kim, executive director, The Nation Magazine.

Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director Lambda Legal.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker “One day this fall, Ravi was in a courthouse in New Brunswick, fifteen miles to the north, awaiting a pre-trial hearing. In a windowless room, he sat between two lawyers, wearing a black suit and a gray striped tie. His eyes were red.”

The Nation “When I read that 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi had committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after two other students posted a video of him having sex with another man online, my heart dropped. ”

Christian Science Monitor “Attorneys made closing arguments Tuesday in the trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of cyber intimidation by using a webcam and other social media to expose his male roommate’s intimate encounter with another man. The gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide by jumping off New York City’s George Washington Bridge days after learning that information about his relationship had been made public.”

The New York Times “A jury on Friday convicted a former Rutgers University student, Dharun Ravi, of hate crimes for using a webcam to spy on his roommate kissing another man in their dorm room.”

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