Nation/World

Convicted student denies bias against gays

PLAINSBORO, N.J. – The former Rutgers University student convicted in a webcam spying case said he was insensitive toward his gay roommate but not biased, and that he doesn’t think he was the reason for his roommate’s suicide.

Dharun Ravi, 20, was convicted last week of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, a hate crime, after using a webcam to view a snippet of Tyler Clementi’s dorm-room liaison with another man, then tweeting about it. Clementi subsequently threw himself off a bridge.

“I didn’t act out of hate, and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay,” Dharun Ravi told the Star-Ledger of Newark in his first media interview since the saga began in September 2010.

Ravi also gave an interview to ABC News’ “20/20” that’s to be broadcast tonight. He told the news show he is sad about the suicide but doesn’t believe it was spawned by his actions.

“The more and more I found out, it would be kind of obnoxious of me to think that I could have this profound effect on him,” Ravi told ABC. “After all this time and reading his conversations and how and what he was doing before, I really don’t think he cared at all. I feel like I was an insignificant part to his life. That’s giving me comfort now.”

Before the case went to trial, prosecutors offered Ravi a plea deal that would have called for no jail time.

“I’m never going to regret not taking the plea,” Ravi told the Star-Ledger. “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.”

The 20-year-old told the newspaper that he didn’t think about what the spying would mean to his roommate. “I know that’s wrong,” he said, “but that’s the truth.”

Ravi is to be sentenced May 21.



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