A college student accused of secretly filming Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi having a same sex encounter in his dorm room just days before Clementi leapt to his death allegedly destroyed evidence and sent false tweets to try and throw off investigators, according to an indictment released today.
Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student, was indicted on 15 counts including charges of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and tampering with evidence by a grand jury in Middlesex County, N.J. Prosecutors allege that not only did Ravi invade Clementi's privacy, but he tried to cover it up.
Both Ravi and his alleged accomplice, former Rutgers student Molly Wei, are accused of filming Clementi during a "sexual encounter" in his dorm room with a man and then streaming it live on the Internet.
Evidence against Wei has not yet been presented to a grand jury.
Prosecutors allege that on Sept. 19 of last year, Ravi filmed Clementi with the purpose of intimidating him because of his sexual orientation.
Ravi "disclosed a photograph, film, videotape, recording or other reproduction of the image of [Clementi]...whose intimate parts were exposed," the indictment reads.
When Ravi became worried about being charged with a crime, he sent false tweets in an attempt "to mislead a public servant who was engaged in such proceeding or investigation," the indictment reads.
He also attempted to destroy tweets from his twitter feed, prosecutors allege. In addition, the indictment says that Ravi tried to convince other students to not testify against him.
Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman, was so distraught after the streaming of the video, he jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River.
His family released a statement applauding the charges.
"The grand jury indictment spells out cold and calculated acts against our son Tyler by his former college roommate. If these facts are true, as they appear to be, then it is important for our criminal justice system to establish clear accountability under law. We are eager to have the process move forward for justice in this case and to reinforce the standards of acceptable conduct in our society," said Jane and Joe Clementi in a statement.
A talented violinist, Clementi grew up in the New Jersey suburb of Ridgewood, where friends who knew him reeled from his sudden death.
Messages on social networking sites left by Ravi suggest that he may have had an aversion to Clementi's sexuality from the start of their freshman year.
Ravi tweeted on Aug. 22, "Found out my roommate is gay," according to Forbes.com, and then posted a link to a gay men's website where Ravi said Clementi had placed posts.
Gawker reported it was that same website, JustUsBoys, that Clementi was believed to have turned to once he found out that Ravi had secretly filmed Clementi's sexual encounter with another man.
"So my question is what is next," the posted cti2mo, believed to be Clementi, wrote on Sept. 21. "I could just be more careful next time ... make sure to turn the cam away."
In the same post, "I'm kind pissed at him (rightfully so I think, no?)"
Since Clementi's death, a message reading "in loving memory" appears next to the handle "cit2mo."
A Twitter page that appears to have been operated by Ravi but has since been taken offline shows messages in which the accused student takes credit for the alleged videotaping of Clementi.