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Dharun Ravi Feels 'Very Sorry About Tyler' Clementi: Interview

The Huffington Post  |  By Michael McLaughlin  |  Posted: 03/22/2012 9:56 am Updated: 03/23/2012 1:10 pm

Dharun Ravi
Dharun Ravi says he's "very sorry about" Tyler Clementi, his Rutgers University roommate who committed suicide in 2010.

Breaking more than a year of silence, Dharun Ravi spoke for the first time about spying on his gay former roommate Tyler Clementi and insisted he's not homophobic.

Clementi committed suicide in September 2010, days after Ravi spied on him in a romantic encounter with another man using a videocamera planted in their dorm room.

Last Friday, a New Jersey jury convicted Ravi, an ex-Rutgers University student on 15 charges, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and evidence tampering.

"I'm very sorry about Tyler," Ravi told the Star-Ledger. "I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn’t hate Tyler and I knew he was okay with me. I wanted to talk to his parents, but I was afraid. I didn’t know what to say.

These are some of the first words from Ravi, 20, who had publicly held his tongue since his arrest weeks into his freshman year.

Ravi spoke expansively with the Star-Ledger in an interview published today as he awaits sentencing on May 21. He faces 10 years in prison and possible deportation to India, where he was born.

Ravi didn't face charges for killing Clementi. The trial focused on his behavior towards his roommate in the days before he died.

Ravi wrote on Twitter about catching a glimpse of his gay roommate's love life. When Clementi requested private use of their dorm room again for another date, Ravi invited friends to tune in to his webcam for a broadcast.

Clementi complained to dorm officials when he learned of Ravi's intrusion and committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge.

Prosecutors offered Ravi a plea deal that included no prison sentence, but Ravi turned it down in December.

"I'm never going to regret not taking the plea," Ravi said in the interview. "If I took the plea, I would have had to testify that I did what I did to intimidate Tyler and that would be a lie. I won't ever get up there and tell the world I hated Tyler because he was gay, or tell the world I was trying to hurt or intimidate him because it's not true."

Ravi was raised in Plainsboro, an ethnically diverse suburb in the Garden State. He said the multitude of nationalities prevented people from forming prejudiced opinions, although it wasn't until he enrolled at Rutgers that he encountered gay people.

After using a webcam activated from a friend's dorm room, Ravi tweeted about seeing Clementi "kissing a dude," and invited friends to a "viewing party" when he learned his roommate planned a second tryst with the man identified only as "M.B."

But Ravi insisted that he only spied the first time because he thought M.B. was a suspicious character, because of his scruffy appearance and unfriendly demeanor. Later, when police said Clementi disappeared, Ravi said he feared M.B. was behind it.

VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE RUTGERS WEBCAM SPY CASE:

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  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

    Dharun Ravi, 20, right, walks out of Middlesex County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • This undated file photograph provided by Joseph and Jane Clementi shows their son Tyler Clementi at a family function. Opening arguments took place on Feb. 24, 2012 in the trial of a former Rutgers University student found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate Clementi's intimate encounter with another man. (Clementi Family / AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

    Dharun Ravi, 20, right, walks out of Middlesex County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Indian-born former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 20, walks out of Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Indian-born former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi sits in court during his sentencing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 22, arrives at the Middlesex County sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate reported to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 22, is photographed by the media as he arrives at the Middlesex County sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate reported to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • A Middlesex County Sheriff's Dept. van, reportedly transporting Dharun Ravi to jail, drives away from the sheriff's office in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate turned himself in shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Ravi Pazhani

    Ravi Pazhani, leaves the Middlesex County sheriff's department past officers and the media in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012, after the arrival of his son, Dharun Ravi. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate was to report to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi, 22, arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Philip Nettl, Dharun Ravi, Sabitha Ravi

  • Dharun Ravi, center, listens to a court officer with his attorneys Philip Nettl, left, and Steve Altman, during his sentencing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Joseph Clementi,Jane Clementi

    Tyler Clementi's parents, Joseph Clementi and Jane Clementi, look on during a sentencing hearing for Dharun Ravi, in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate, Tyler Clementi, kiss another man days before Clementi killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • As fellow defense attorney Steve Altman, third left, listens, attorney Philip Nettl, left, speaks on behalf of Dharun Ravi, second left, as Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure, second right, and Assistant Prosecutor Chris Schellhorn, right, listen during a sentencing hearing for Ravi in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, center, is helped by his father, Ravi Pazhani, second right, as they leave court around in New Brunswick, N.J., Friday, March 16, 2012. Defense attorney Philip Nettl follows, second left. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Several hundred supporters rally in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The 20-year-old was convicted in March and faces up to 10 years in prison. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Jane Clementi hugs a family member following the verdict in the trial of Dharun Ravi, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, Jerry McCrea, Pool)

  • Renuka Desai, of Edison, N.J., holds a sign and a flag as she joins several hundred supporters at a rally in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The 20-year-old was convicted in March and faces up to 10 years in prison. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Sabitha Ravi, center, talks outside the New Jersey Statehouse about her son, Dharun Ravi, in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012. Supporters rallied on behalf of Dharun, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. Ravi Pazhani, right, and Satish Mehtani, left, watch. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Nachhatar Singh, right, and Gill Harjit wait to join several hundred supporters outside the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi, center, is helped by his father, Ravi Pazhani, right, as they leave court around noon in New Brunswick, N.J., Friday, March 16, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, former Rutgers student found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man, leaves Middlesex County Court on Dec. 9, 2011 in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and sought to prevent his deportation, accepting the gamble of a trial. Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010. Ravi, 19, is not charged in connection with Clementi's death. (Noah K. Murray, AP)

  • Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman talks to the jurors after their verdict in the trial of Dharun Ravi, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, Jerry McCrea, Pool)

  • Dharun Ravi, former Rutgers University student listened to his attorney Steve Altman as he rejected a new plea offer at Middlesex County Court on Dec. 9, 2011 in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi was found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, during an intimate encounter with another man. Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010. (Noah K. Murray, AP)

  • In this May 6, 2011 photo, Molly Wei, the former Rutgers student charged with Dharun Ravi with invading the privacy of Tyler Clementi, looks at the prosecutors during her appearance before Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. (Frank H. Conlon, AP)

  • Jane Clementi, right, and her husband, Joseph Clementi, left, attend a symposium on use and misuse of social media at Rutgers University on Nov. 14, 2011, in Piscataway, N.J. Their son, Tyler Clementi, was in his first weeks as a student at Rutgers in September 2010 when he killed himself after a roommate used a webcam to spy on Clementi's intimate encounter with another man. The family has started a foundation in their son's honor to address cyberbullying. (Julio Cortez, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Jane Clementi looks at family photographs at her home in Ridgewood, N.J. Jane Clementi, the mother of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man, says that he had a lot on his mind just before he went to college. His mother says that in one conversation a few days before Tyler left for college he told her that he was gay, had doubts about his religious beliefs and was sad that he did not have close friends. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Oct. 1, 2010 photo, Rutgers University students sign condolence cards at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J., for the family of fellow student Tyler Clementi. Rutgers University has planned a silent vigil to remember Clementi, who committed suicide after his sexual encounter was secretly streamed online. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • U. S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., speaks at a statewide town meeting in memory of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi on Oct. 6, 2010 at the Rutgers University Student Center in New Brunswick, N.J. (Bill Kostroun, AP)

  • New Jersey Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Edison, stands with other lawmakers on Oct. 25, 2010, in Trenton, N.J., as she answers a question about a bill they introduced to toughen the state's anti-bullying laws after the widely publicized suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. The bipartisan group of lawmakers touted the "anti-bullying bill of rights" targeting public schools and colleges. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Joseph Clementi looks at his wife, Jane Clementi, as they sit in Ridgewood, N.J. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • People walk outside Davidson Hall "C" Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Piscataway, N.J. The death of Tyler Clementi, 18, a Rutgers University freshman living in the dorm, has stirred outrage and remorse among classmates who said they wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge after secret video of his sexual encounter with a man was streamed online. Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, was found guilty of invading Clementi's privacy. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Jane Clementi answers a question as she sits with husband Joseph Clementi as they talk about their son Tyler, in their home in Ridgewood, N.J. The parents of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man, say that he had a lot on his mind just before he went to college. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Oct. 3, 2010 file photo, people participate in a candlelight vigil for Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi at Brower Commons on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, N.J. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River on Sept. 22 after intimate images of him with another man in his dorm room were broadcast online. (Reena Rose Sibayan, AP)

  • In this May 23, 2011 file photo, Joe Clementi, top left, and his wife, Jane, right, sit inside Judge Glenn Berman's courtroom at the Middlesex County Courthouse during a hearing for Dharun Ravi, in the webcam-spying case involving the suicide of their son Tyler Clementi, in New Brunswick, N.J. Joe and Jane Clementi said Friday, March 23, 2012, that a jury got it right last week by convicting their son's roommate, Ravi, of hate crimes and other offenses. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

  • In a March 9, 2012 file photo, Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was found guilty of hate crimes for using a webcam to view his roommate at Rutgers University kissing another man, waits before court proceedings in New Brunswick, N.J. In a legal filing Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Ravi's lawyers asked a judge to overturn the jury's conviction. They said the jury convicted Ravi in March despite evidence that he was not guilty of invading the privacy or intimidating roommate Tyler Clementi, who killed himself days after the webcam was used. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John Munson, Pool, File)

  • Dharun Ravi, Joseph Benedict

    FILE - In this May 30, 2012, file photo, Dharun Ravi, right, sits with his attorney Joseph Benedict during a hearing in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of using his webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man, is due to be released from jail Tuesday, June 19 after serving 20 days of a 30 day sentence. Ravi reported to jail last month even though he could have remained free during an appeal of the case. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)


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