The text-message apology that Dharun Ravi sent to his Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi on the night of Clementi’s suicide last fall was a cynical attempt to avoid punishment from the school, prosecutors allege in newly filed court papers.
Ravi, 19, composed the text – which he happened to send 14 minutes after Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22 – after he learned he would be disciplined by Rutgers for using a webcam to film Clementi’s romantic encounter with a male friend, prosecutors in Middlesex County, N.J., said.
“This was just one of many attempts by [the] defendant to dilute, cover up and explain, in other words to tamper with the facts and to fabricate evidence that could be looked on as favorable to him,” Middlesex County first assistant prosecutor Julia McClure wrote in response to a motion filed by Ravi’s attorney to dismiss the charges against him.
Ravi is charged with 15 offenses, including bias and intimidation. Middlesex County Superior Court judge Glenn Berman will hear oral arguments on Sept. 9 and then rule on the motion to dismiss.
In opposing the motion, the prosecution cited instant-message chats, other text messages and emails sent by both Clementi and Ravi as more than enough reason to proceed with the case.
In one email to his resident assistant, Clementi allegedly wrote: “I feel my privacy has been violated and I am extremely uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who would act in this wildly inappropriate manner.”
In one chat, Ravi allegedly wrote: “What if I catch him with a dude in my room. I’ll have Jarvis [a talking computer software program he had installed on his laptop] warn me if he tries to rape me at night.”
Ravi is not charged with causing Clementi’s death, and prosecutors say his suicide is actually not relevant to the case. But Ravi’s attorney wants documents about the suicide to be considered as possible evidence that Clementi may have been depressed prior to his death.