Clementi family finds justice in jurors’ verdict
Tyler Clementi’s parents thanked the court Friday for finding Dharun Ravi guilty for bias intimidation, in their first direct statement after the March 16 verdict.
Ravi, a former University student who used a webcam to spy on his roommate and male guest, M.B., in a sexual encounter, was found guilty on 15 charges, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence.
Sentencing is scheduled to begin May 21.
“Our family believes that the jury reached the correct verdict,” Joseph Clementi, Tyler’s father, said in a statement. “They reached their decision based on the facts shown by the evidence. At the conclusion of the trial, the defense’s explanation of what happened was simply not believable.”
Joseph Clementi said the trial and subsequent jury verdict answered questions for the family and confirmed their faith in the justice system.
“I have said all along that we were looking for justice and accountability. I trusted the Courts and the State of New Jersey to get this right … and they did,” he said.
Ravi said in an interview with ABC that he was very self-absorbed during the incident but does not believe he was biased in his actions.
“Even though I wasn’t the one who caused him to jump off the bridge, I did do things wrong and I was stupid about a lot of stuff,” Ravi said in the interview.
Ravi said the last time he saw Tyler Clementi, everything seemed normal between them even though the two did not speak much.
“I’m very sorry about Tyler. I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel,” Ravi told ABC. “I didn’t hate Tyler and I knew he was OK with me. I wanted to talk to his parents. … I didn’t know what to say.”
The Clementi family feels there are many lessons to be learned from this tragedy, said Paul Mainardi, the family’s lawyer, in the statement.
“We have become all too aware of the consequences suffered by people who are singled out because for being different,” said Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, in the statement. “We have learned that the LGBT teens, especially, suffer pain, embarrassment and ridicule which is made worse by improper use of electronic media.”
This misuse is not limited to the LGBT community. Boston College football player Jaryd Rudolph, 19, allegedly used his cellphone to record audio of his roommate having sex with a female student on Feb. 15 and shared it with others, according to CBS News.
Mitchell Garabedian, the female student’s attorney, said that his client had no knowledge of the recordings and did not give consent for them to be distributed.
“She found out about it by people making fun of her while she was working,” Garabedian said.
Boston College released a statement about the incident last week stating the Boston College student will appear in April for a pre-trial conference.
“In adjudicating the matter, the dean’s office determined that the conduct of the student and the alleged victim was inappropriate,” according to the statement. “The student was issued a summary suspension at the time of the allegation and remains on University probation. He was also suspended from the football team and must undergo educational training and counseling.”
Boston College said suspension would remain in place pending the outcome of the court proceedings.
“In this digital world, we need to teach our youngsters that their actions have consequences, that their words have real power to hurt or to help,” Jane Clementi said. “They must be encouraged to choose to build people up and not tear them down.”
Jane Clementi said this is the ideology that is behind the mission of the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
The family launched the foundation earlier this year to honor their son and promote responsible use of electronic media, according to the family statement.
Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman has discretion over Ravi’s sentencing. Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation.
Richard Pompelio, the lawyer of Tyler Clementi’s older guest M.B., told The Record on Thursday that M.B. agreed with the verdict and that he believes Ravi should serve some jail time because of his actions.