Dharun Ravi blames his immaturity – not a strain of criminal-level hate – for his actions leading up to Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi’s suicide.
“I was 18 … I did do things wrong and I was stupid about a lot of stuff,” he tells ABC News, of allegedly using a camera to internet-spy on Clementi kissing a man in their dorm room. “I was a dumb kid not thinking about it.”
Ravi, 19, who was found guilty of invasion of privacy and hate crimes, insists he is not homophobic.
“I didn’t act out of hate and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay,” he says in a separate interview with New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger newspaper. “I won’t ever tell the world I hated Tyler because he was gay, or tell the world that I was trying to hurt or intimidate him because it’s not true.”
Ravi says he realized his roommate, also 18, “had bigger problems” that may have contributed to his decision to jump off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010.
“Before I went to school I thought my roommate would be my best friend and we would hang out all the time,” he tells The Star-Ledger. “But Tyler wasn’t like that. He was very quiet and every conversation we had just hit a dead end.”
On Friday, Tyler Clementi’s family released a statement commenting on the jury’s findings against Ravi. Tyler’s father, Joseph Clementi, said, “Our family believes the jury reached the correct verdict. 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.”
Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, said, “We have become all too aware of the consequences suffered by people who are singled out for being different. We have learned that LGBT teens, especially, suffer pain, embarrassment and ridicule which is made worse by improper use of electronic media.”