Clementis reflect on spying trial

The Clementi family sat in the first row of judge Glenn Berman’s courtroom Friday for one last time as jurors announced the verdict of Dharun Ravi, who spied on their son before he committed suicide.

Prosecutors charged Ravi, a former University student, with using a webcam to view an intimate encounter between Tyler Clementi and his male guest, M.B., in two separate incidents in September 2010.

Joseph Clementi, Tyler’s father, wrapped his arm around the shoulder of his wife, Jane, a 53-year-old public health nurse, as the jury responded to each count brought against Ravi. As each count was read, Joseph Clementi let out a few tears as he, his wife and oldest son, James, exchanged glances of relief.

Ravi was charged with 15 counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation of Tyler Clementi.

“The trial was painful for us, as it would be for any parent who must sit and listen to people talk about bad and inappropriate things that were done to their child,” said Joseph Clementi in a press conference following the verdict.

Joseph Clementi said the criminal law in this trial is important because it deals with Ravi’s conduct.

“We believe the trial was important because it dealt with important issues for our society and for our young people today, and because of worldwide media attention that was brought to it,” he said.

The Clementi family has come to understand the law is only one way of addressing the problems presented in this trial, including the idea behind responsibility and privacy in the digital world.

The Clementis established a foundation dedicated to raising awareness about suicide prevention and acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as well as education on cyberbullying, according to the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s mission statement.

“We’re on a mission to address these issues in an affirmative way through the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which we have set up in memory of our son,” Joseph Clementi said. “We hope that the media attention will not fade, and that positive efforts on these important issues will be acknowledged.”

Joseph Clementi closed the press conference advising students to speak up especially if they think something is wrong.

“You’re going to meet a lot of people in your lifetime. Some of these people you may not like. …[It] does not mean you have to work against them,” he said. “When you see somebody doing something wrong, tell them. … You can make the world a better place. The change you want to see in the world begins with you.”

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