Ravi uses friend’s laptop to set up webcam viewing
Dharun Ravi used a friend’s computer to spy on Tyler Clementi, Ravi’s gay roommate, said the friend, who testified yesterday afternoon in the Middlesex County Courtroom.
Ojha, who lived at Davidson Hall on Busch campus with Ravi and Clementi, said Ravi asked him if he could use his computer for something, though he was not given an exact reason.
Ojha, now a sophomore at the University, said he saw Ravi around 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2010 in the student lounge of Davidson C on Busch campus.
It was then that Ravi asked Ojha for his computer, which he used to test the webcam in his and Clementi’s room. He was then able to angle the camera toward Clementi’s bed.
Clementi, Ravi’s gay roommate and the target of the alleged spying, committed suicide the next day by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
“[Ravi] clicked my iChat icon, then he clicked his video. He had his ‘auto-accept’ feature set up,” Ojha said. “And at that point, he went to his room and told me to check the angle on the webcam.”
Ojha said Ravi had slightly angled the camera toward Clementi’s bed. Ravi then came back to Ojha’s room, grabbed his belongings and left, Ojha said.
“Ravi said, ‘it’s happening again between 9 and 12,’ and if I wanted to check it out, I should try iChat around 10:30,” Ojha said, referring to Ravi seeing Clementi kissing another man during a prior viewing session.
Ravi’s defense attorney, Steven Altman, asked if Ravi had told Ojha not to tell anyone else about what he had seen.
Ojha said he did not remember.
He also admitted to sending out two text messages to two friends Ojha and Ravi had met during the first week at the University.
On Sept. 19 and Sept. 21, Ravi asked him to text the two students telling them to check Ravi’s Twitter.
Later that same night, Clementi approached a Davidson Hall resident assistant to request a room change.
During the video screening, Clementi had realized his roommate was spying on him, said Raahi Grover, a former resident assistant at Davidson Hall C.
Clementi went to Grover’s room on around 11 p.m.
Grover, a University alumnus, said students are typically supposed to go to their assigned resident assistant, but Clementi went to him. Grover did not recall if Clementi’s resident assistant had been in the building at the time.
Grover said Clementi’s voice was shaky so he invited him in for a closed-door conversation in his room.
“I could tell by the tone of his voice he was uncomfortable,” Grover said.
The 20-minute conversation involved Ravi and an incident that occurred that evening. During this conversation, Grover said he told Clementi to write an email “referencing whatever needed to be referenced,” and Clementi did so in a 12:03 a.m. email, which was later duplicated in an incident report.
“I feel as though my privacy has been violated, and I am extremely uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who would act in this wildly inappropriate manner,” Clementi wrote in his email to Grover after he met with Grover in his room.
Supreme Court Judge Glenn Berman said jurors are prohibited from seeing the words “wildly inappropriate” because the phrase aligns with a judgment Clementi made on Ravi based on past experiences, rather than Clementi’s state of mind when he filed the report.
The incident report was filed through a system, in which the report was distributed electronically to the senior management hall director and the University Residence Life coordinator for Busch campus.
Grover reported in the email, “Tyler prefers a roommate switch asap and prefers a punishment.”
Grover included that he thought the room change should be applied as soon as possible.
“I offered him that if he wasn’t feeling comfortable with his living arrangement, I had an extra bed in [my] room,” Grover said. “I realized the housing office wouldn’t respond, so that’s why I made him that offer.”
Ojha said Ravi never said anything negative about Clementi.
“He said [Clementi] was a nice guy,” Ojha said. “He just seemed shocked at seeing his roommate make out with a man.”
Ravi is charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest, with up to 10 years in prison.
Ojha is expected to finish his cross-examination tomorrow morning, and M.B. is expected to testify today. The trial, which started last Friday, is expected to last three to four weeks.