College Freshman Commits Suicide After Roommate Uses Hidden Cameras to Stream Live Images of Him Having Sex Over The Internet

Comments

1
This is exactly the kind of shit that will keep happening over and over again until it is made very clear that the consequences of these actions far, far outweigh the thrill. These people need to be banned from all Universities for life.

My heart breaks for you too, Tyler Clementi.
2
Yeah? And what about the 'oxygen in the other guys balls' sextape you so happily flaunted on Slog a couple of weeks ago?
3
Sucks. He was really cute and creative.

Turtle has a point. The guy in that post was outed in the exact same way as this kid...but, its OK because he's a celebrity?
4
Good thing doing stuff like that (taping) is illegal in WA state.
5
Thanks for the reference because I missed those earlier this month and found them pretty hot.

If you can't tell the difference between a posed for picture (even one not intended for public consumption) that is popular because of its titillation factor and hidden cameras that were sent to others for the purpose of mockery, then I can't help you.

My heart breaks for this kid, and I truly hope that somehow this has yet another stranger-than-fiction twist and he faked his own death. Very, very, very unlikely, but it's the only thing that makes me take a walk like Dan.
6
Molly Wei: mollywei@eden.rutgers.edu
(609) 785-5775
7
Oh, god.
8
@2 Yeah, not the same thing at all. Knowingly (he's looking at the camera) making a sex tape that gets leaked: sucky for you and your own fault. Unknowingly being taped having sex by your roommate and having it broadcast on the internet and thus being outed: amazingly horrible and not at all your own fault.
9
How is this different than teens who 'sext' (god how I hate that term)?? Not pictures/videos of themselves, but of others? This is why I can't get on board with Dan's anti-sexting-laws stance - I think it is crucial to teach people when they are young that it is not ok to distribute this type of material electronically, and that there will be real consequences for it.

My heart is breaking for this kid. Hope there is some kind of legal and public fallout for those other two asshats.
10
Well, here are two sociopathic assholes that can DEFINTELY be prosecuted.

RIP, Tyler. My prayers are with you and your family.
11
@8, so the presumption of privacy is only valid in this one scenario? Or is it just that when this happens to a Carrie Prejean or some celebrity it's funnier because you have no sympathy for that person and their right to respect and privacy?

I'm curious how you're not up in arms about Mel Gibson being unknowingly recorded?
12
Danny.

Have you seen the latest ad by your Hero Alan Grayson?

It's awesome.

If you ever pull your head out of his ass
you should find a TV and check it out.....
13
It was a stupid prank that straight people pull all the time. There is absolutely no indication that their relationship as roommates was bad; that the kid was bullied about being gay etc...

This was a stupid joke gone horribly wrong because the victim decided to commit suicide out of shame. It has nothing to do with being gay. FWIW: I wouldn't be surprised if this happens more often with young girls...
14
looks like this might be molly's facebook. the only molly wei at rutgers who is listed on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1…
15
Can we please delete #8?
16
Asshole. This is where the shaming went down:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/se…
17
And THIS dude, his friend and fellow homophobe, is clearly involved:

http://twitter.com/nikmash
18
@11 No, I said nothing about the presumption of privacy only applying in this case. I even said that it sucks any time a sex tape that isn't supposed to be public becomes public. My point is that making a sex tape is risky, you know that there is a risk of other people seeing it, particularly if it is digital and you distribute it in any way, even only among participants.

This kid did not knowingly make a sex tape, he was videotaped unknowingly and then had that broadcast on the internet. THAT IS WAAAAY WORSE! That's all I'm saying, that @2 was comparing apples to oranges.

@15 Why should my comment be deleted? Because you don't agree with it?
19
Carrie Prejean sent explicit videos of herself to another person. She knowingly relinquished control of those images to someone she barely knew. That is a choice she made.

The guy in this story did not know he was being recorded, and did not consent to having the explicit images distributed. He had no choice in the matter.
20
@ 13 I think it does have to do with being gay. If an 18 year old boy is taped having sex with a girl, it may be embarrassing but there are social outlets. You can go to the cops without fear, you might be able to turn it into street cred. But for a gay 18 year old struggling with his sexuality it could be the final straw. The roommate might have no probably with the guy being gay, but his 'stupid joke' in the context of a homophobic society led to the suicide.
21
When was Carrie Prejean secretly filmed having sex?

And when was this kid making homophobic and anti-sex rants in public?
22
Please tell me these asshats are liable for something other than taping and distributing (max 5 yrs). Wrongful death or some civil penalty? Is there a lawyer in the slog?
23
What did @8 say that was so bad? The guy in the earlier post knew he was being filmed or photographed, obviously, and was in a room with a number of people, so to compare that to secretly taping the sexual encounters of an 18 year old kid isn't at all the same thing.

And what the hell? It's like Dan is posting 2 of these a week, how many gay kids are killing themselves every week? If this were happening to kids who, say, listened to Eminem, wouldn't it get national attention? Wouldn't it be seen as an epidemic? Wouldn't it be a Big Deal?
24
and @11, I don't recall ever stating anything about Mel Gibson, but if he was illegally recorded, then the person responsible should certainly be prosecuted.
25
Sorry, delete @6 for the contact information of Molly Wei (who may or may not be the Molly Wei in question, and may or may not be involved with the actions of the room-mate).

26
@25 oh, ok, I agree with you there @6 should be deleted. Honestly, I was confused, didn't think I'd said anything too offensive...
27
9 -- the sexting issue has been primarily about teens sending images of themselves. This is not the same.

It all depends on state law, but the students responsible for taping/posting the tapes could be looking at jail time. I imagine that a civil lawsuit is very likely.
28
You hadn't said anything. But we can argue anyways. Isn't the internet wonderful?

I must say, though, that I disagree with the casual connection that folks make between (a) somebody (esp in the public eye) being dumb enough to make a sex tape/image because, yes, they do get leaked and (b) it being okay to continually add to the breach of their privacy by the distribution of that tape/image. The error at "a" does not justify participation at "b". (That, btw, is a point separate from the one at issue in the thread, which is whether the actions of the roommate are far more heinous and a difference in kind; they are.)
29
@18
You're making valid points. I just disagree.

Admittedly they both suck, but the violation of privacy is no greater when it's done knowingly. In both scenarios, the right to privacy is assumed. Just because in one case you're one step further along this path to tragedy, that doesn't somehow make it your fault that someone decided to be cruel.

All I'm saying is that the stranger is being hypocritical when they call this terrible, and at the same time, revel in the humiliation and violation of others' privacy.

How would they feel if the numerous similar events they've poked fun at led to someone else's suicide? They'd probably feel nothing, because those stories don't fit into their current (righteous) crusade against homophobic bullying.

There's nothing but tragedy in this story. I'm just saying that the Stranger - and Dan Savage - have forfeited the moral high-ground in matters like this.

If you want other reasons, consider some of the iphone pics they've taken of people on planes, on the streets, etc, and then the little petty diatribes they've posted about them.

Sorry Stranger, this kid may be a martyr, but not on your behalf.
30
@5 so, the difference of being publicly outed in the brutal fashion mentioned is consent to the creation of sex tapes/pictures?

I agree that not consenting to the sex tapes most certainly adds to the humiliation, but I think that things like Dan's post is still pretty gross.
31
This kind of crap has been happening to young women and celebrities, male and female, for years. When it happens to these people it is treated as entertainment and the victim is blamed. This turns consenting sex into an act of shame and that is morally wrong. People who tape others having sex without their knowledge should be prosecuted under sex offender laws, even if the person secretly filming is having sex with the unwitting subject.
32
too late, and yes it is her.
33
When did the Stranger take photos of people in planes and in the streets without their knowledge as they were having sex?

And aren't planes and the streets public places?
34
I hope Ravi has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Also, they should prosecute him under federal wiretap laws.
35
Agree with @13.

I'm not saying these two kids aren't to blame or that there shouldn't be some punishment. But the amount of vengeance I'm willing to visit upon them differs if it was just a stupid prank on a kid that happened to be gay verses a mean-spirited, vindictive way of outing a kid.

For all we know, the roommate didn't even know that Clementi wasn't out outside of Rutgers.
36
Poor kid. He should have made a video for HUMP rather than kill himself.
37
As an aside and as a San Franciscan, bridge suicides have been a hot issue for me for a while and unfortunately many cities (like mine) prefer to spin arguments about tourism and history rather than take their obligations toward human life seriously.

Research based on interviews with survivors shows that 'jumpers' are the most spontaneous kinds of suicide attempters. Survivors of jumps report experience a strong desire to live the moment they start falling, and they are the least likely to attempt suicide again.

Suicide barriers on bridges and tall buildings (especially historic, romanticized ones, SF) save lives. These people will not "just find another way to off themselves." It's clear that between the long drops and the people who can't make decisions for themselves we need to place some physical, inhibiting object!

I would very much like to see more people (like The Stranger) take up this cause!
38
There should be some restraint here -- these stories always tend to be a little more complicated than the initial lurid reports.

But if this is all true, I officially hate the fucking world. What ever happened to basic human empathy? It makes me want to horsewhip all these assholes until they cry for mercy.
39
@35 I'm just going to go out on a limb and assume you aren't gay, since your level of compassion is damn near zero.

So, here's how to put yourself in his shoes: Imagine the absolute worst sexual experience you've ever had (not to say that gay sex is usually a terrible experience, but for a closet case, the level of shame is on par.) Now imagine that your roommate secretly videotaped you doing this shameful act, and mockingly broadcast it over the internet for all to see.

Still think it's a childish prank...?
40
@37 Why does anybody have to protect people from themselves? That's stupid. Protect us from the government. Protect us from the criminals. Protect us from the corporations (OK, that one won't happen). But, leave me to protect myself.
41
@35: I disagree. This is the same logic as leads to hate crime laws. The essence of a crime is what you did, not why you did it. When motivation becomes a mitigating or aggravating factor, 1984 has arrived and we're prosecuting thoughtcrimes.

@37: You're way off topic, but I have to take the bait and disagree with you as well. Aside from the fact that it would be hugely expensive and make one of the world's most beautiful bridges ugly, suicide is a basic human right. My sole obligation toward human life is not to interfere with yours, or anyone else's. That includes interfering with a suicide.

You wrote about "people who can't make decisions for themselves": Really? REALLY? Do you really need somebody to explain how offensive that notion is? How many evil groups have used that as their justification?
42
@29 I agree with some of what you said, but I'd raise a few points. 1. when you become a celebrity, you do inherently forfeit some of your right to privacy, particularly when you are profiting from your celebrity. 2. some of these sex tapes are "leaked" on purpose to create buzz. not all of them, but some of them. 3. When you start distributing something to people who aren't trustworthy, you share some blame when they distribute it further.

My point is not that it was a great thing for Dan to promote that video, it was tacky. However, to say that that means he can't call these people out is a little much. If I punch a guy in the face in a bar fight, it might make me guilty of assault, it might make me immoral, but it doesn't mean that I cede the moral high ground and can't call out a guy who beats an innocent person to a pulp.
43
Isn't it sort of ironic for Perez Hilton, of all people, to be pointing out this tragedy?
44
maybe just being optimistic here, but he might just be pranking them back. i mean, no body, they found his wallet, he applied a facebook app for the sole purpose of anouncing his suicide. it's possible. at least i'm rooting for it to be.

and for all the arguments about whether this is the same as say, reporting mel gibson's meltdowns, it clearly is not. both examples are wrong. all celebrity gossip is in the same insidious ballpark as this situation, but this is a kid in a dorm, trying to live his life which is hard enough at that age without having to live with society's bullshit breathing down your neck. his roommate was deliberately trying to humiliate him, it was personal. yes, reading tmz and perez hilton in order to gander at the misfortunes of the famous is lame too, but this kid was subject to something more akin to a personal assault.
45
I'm so sorry, Tyler Clementi.
46
I agree with @44 - this sounds like a stunt to me. I'll reserve forming an opinion until a body shows up.
47
Well, it certainly doesn't make up for the horribly tragic loss of life, but try Googling "Dharun Ravi." This guy will never, ever live this down. He's a villain for life.
He's also shut down his Twitter page, his Facebook page is nothing.
48
@ 41:

Wrong. Intent is usually an element (something the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt) of a crime; particularly crimes which entail long sentences. You may not like this, but it is so. And this is not "1984." In 1984, the thought alone was the crime- this is different from having both the thought and the act together being a crime.
49
@ 37:

Yeah, and let's make razorblades illegal, too.
50
@48 We're not far off. There are examples of people arrested for vocalizing thoughts deemed innapropriate under the hate crime statute.
51
@39:

"@35 I'm just going to go out on a limb and assume you aren't gay, since your level of compassion is damn near zero."

Is it lack of compassion for the victim or lack of willingness to assume the wost about the offenders' intent?

"put yourself in his shoes: Imagine the absolute worst sexual experience you've ever had ... Now imagine that your roommate secretly videotaped you doing this shameful act, and mockingly broadcast it over the internet for all to see."

Can we substitute "most private and secret thing you've ever done" for "absolute worst sexual experience you've ever had"?

"Still think it's a childish prank...?"

Let's assume it's worse than a childish prank. Are you suggesting that the punishment here should be worse, since the victim was filmed having gay sex? I think the law may actually back you up here, I'm just curious to hear you elaborate. What if the kid was straight and had told ultra-religious parents that they were going to stay a virgin until marriage? Does it matter if the offenders knew this?

52
@50 examples please.
53
@44 So, outing somebody via sex tapes is OK as long as they're a celebrity. Got it.
54
here's the cached Twitter account of Dharun's:

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/ima…

what an evil scumbag
55
@48 I'm pretty sure you're right. Isn't intent what separates "murder" from "manslaughter?"
56
They have found a body in the river believed to be this young man.
57
@39: Empathizing with the victim does not require demonizing the suspects.

@41: As others have pointed out, motive is a big part of criminal laws. Accidentally running someone over because I was distracted by my cell phone is different than deliberately running them over.

It's entirely possible that the suspects were not anti-gay but rather completely accepting of homosexuality-- so much so that they treated this gay young man the same way they would treat a straight young man. (I'm sure I'm not the only person who watched American Pie.) Not that they should have, of course, but at 18, they may have been too stupid to understand the kinds of additional pressures that gays face.

It's also possible that they were deliberate and malicious. Reading the twitter posts, it sounds like the victim and the suspect got along reasonably well (they had worked out sexiling if nothing else), so I'm leaning toward non-homophobe.
58
And now that I've look at the twitter posts more closely (thanks @54!) the "saw him making out with a dude. Yay" undercuts my whole "non-phobe theory." Though I'm still not reading Tea Party-level hate here.

I guess I'm a proponent of Hanlon's razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
59
57:

Did you miss the part where the perpetrator says

"I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
(on his twitter)

He maliciously knew he was gay and was delighted about it.
60
oops, sorry 58, we posted at about the same time
61
@ 44 and 46:

Click the article Dan linked to again; it's been updated. A body has been found, and while it hasn't been identified yet, it's probably Tyler Clementi. Also, witnesses saw him fall, and his car, wallet, and laptop were found abandoned on the bridge. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely that this is a hoax.

@ 35:

Like it or not, our legal system does take motive into account, and not just in hate crime laws. That's why we have terms like "mens rea" and "malice aforethought," and why we distinguish between murder and manslaughter. For instance, a father who accidentally runs over his daughter while she's hiding in a pile of leaves isn't going to get the same sentence as a father who deliberately runs over his daughter to punish her for the way she dresses.

Granted, what Ravi and Wei did was far from accidental; in fact, it was knowingly malicious. But to me, this looks like a classic case of idiot kids pulling an idiot prank with unforeseen consequences. As much as I'd like to slap Ravi and Wei and tell them what stupid little shits they are, I'm not sure that sentencing them to five years of prison (the maximum penalty for transmitting sexual images recorded without the victim's consent) is the best way to go. They aren't violent criminals; locking them up may satisfy our communal desire for vengeance, but it wouldn't keep anybody safe, and it certainly won't bring Tyler Clementi back. Given how broken our prison system is, and given that Ravi and Wei's intentions were almost certainly not homicidal, I'd vote for probation, several hundred hours of community service, and mandatory therapy.
62
Molly and Dharun should reimburse Clementi's family for the cost of his education and be forced to pay his family a lien for the rest of their lives.

they should also be forced to register as sex offenders as well.

I find them to be offensive and immature.

they should also be kicked out of school and serve time.
63
Please prosecute these two scumbags to the fullest extent of the law.
64
This might be one of those instances where I hope Anonymous takes it upon themselves to make Dharun & Molly's lives miserable.
65
while Clementi is gone and can't see justice served, the other party who was recorded is presumably still alive. let's hope he comes forward and files civil charges as well.
66
@61

I disagree, for 2 reasons

1. If you're smart enough to earn acceptance to Rutgers, you're smart enough to know that taping someone without their consent in the privacy of their own living space is wrong.

2. As a fellow member of a minority that hovers delicately within the hated/loved dynamic of stereotyping (Asian of Hindi extraction versus closeted gay), you'd think that Ravi would have been slightly sympathetic to his "closeted" roommate's lifestyle.

Instead, I can only *assume* (emphasis necessary because I obviously don't know all of the facts) that he had/has some severe sociopathic leanings that prevents/prevented him from considering the consequences of his actions. Then again, even a sociopath would have considered the idea that his eventual discovery would put *him* in a bad light, so YMMV.

Either way, this guy's either privilege-blind (which would explain his willingness to do something that he knows is legally indefensible. His casual admission to being stoned on a public forum adds credence to this idea) or, quite possibly, closeted (because I can't think of another reason for a "straight" man to set up large amounts of equipment to record the sexual fumblings of two gay novices. One camera, discreetly hidden one time as a prank, OK. Multiple cameras to allow for multiple views, plus the knowledge that the couple had been taped at least *twice*? Starts looking suspicious.)
67
The perpetrators are adults, should know better, and deserve every horrible thing that happens to them. Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei are horrible human beings.

I hope they are harassed and hounded til the end of their days, driven from school, driven from their jobs, driven from any apartment they might ever live in, forced to live at home with their parents until they change their names.

And then hunt them down and do it again. And again.

Fill their lives with misery and hardship, let them be the poster child for sociopathic, bigoted monsters. For far too long bullies and assholes have gotten away with shit like this -- well, these ones are adults and should be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. And, if they ever reflect back with remorse, they'll realize they deserve it.
68
Quoth 66:
If you're smart enough to earn acceptance to Rutgers, you're smart enough to know that taping someone without their consent in the privacy of their own living space is wrong.

Umm... no. While I can't speak for the intelligence of the student body at Rutgers, I did attend two top-10 universities for my degrees. I can assure you that the students at both schools did a whole bunch of really stupid things, especially the freshman, especially when drunk and/or stoned. Suffice to say that there's a difference between being "book smart" and being "people smart."

I get the outrage directed toward the suspects, but it seems like the overwhelming majority of the posters have forgotten that freshman sometimes do stupid things. Like fuck their significant other's friends, drink themselves into a coma, go on a rampage where they threaten to kill someone, pimp out a sibling, etc. This isn't a hypothetical list; these are things that frosh in my dorm actually did. Think back on your freshman year and I'm sure you'll come up with a list of unbelievably dumb things that your dormmates did-- things that no sane adult would even consider.

So yes, the suspects suck and deserve a smackdown. But a little perspective, please.
69
JUSTICE FOR TYLER CLEMENTI NOW

Rest in Peace kiddo.

I was so hoping Tyler was safe somewhere and right now I couldn't care less if they hang these two from the town square. This wasn't some dumb ass prank gone bad, this was deliberate and intentional and malicious. Their actions caused someone to end their life and they shouldn't be able to walk away from this with some bullshit probation. Being privileged enough to buy your way into Rutgers doesn't give you a free pass. They damn well deserve to have their lives ruined for what they've done.
70
@ 66:

68 already said most of what I want to say, but just to reiterate, the suspects are eighteen years old. While their age doesn't excuse their behavior, it does go a long way towards explaining it; adolescents tend to have poor impulse control and poor risk assessment skills in large part because their prefrontal cortices are still developing. The "smarts" that got Ravi and Wei into Rutgers had nothing to do with the "smarts" that they needed to realize that they were doing something incredibly hurtful -- and most teenagers are, to a greater or lesser extent, lacking in the latter kind of "smarts."

Again, I'm not arguing that Ravi and Wei should be let off on account of their neurological immaturity. But I don't think we have grounds to declare that they're irredeemable sociopaths; their poor little brains need to finish ripening before we can pass that judgment.
71
Molly Wei's information was public. I just went to the college web site, and typed her name into their search engine.

Ravi's information wasn't there - probably because he has a lawyer who made sure he blocked all that.
72
@nikmash Strobe light a couch and black lights to come.
http://twitpic.com/2rldm6
73
@68: perspective? They drove someone to suicide.

This happens too often, and usually with much younger kids. A message needs to be sent that it's not ok, a message that will get through not to these two sociopaths, but to the 14 year old boy in Idaho or wherever. Destroy the lives of these two assholes, run profile pieces in newspapers about how their lives were destroyed, extract the longest, slowest, brutalist retribution possible. Make the bullies think twice.

Yeah, 18 year olds do stupid things. Some of those stupid things have consequences. Life sucks, these sick little fucks can get all the retribution that they deserve, and everything the 15 year old bullies deserve too but which they won't get. Sucks to be them. Sucks to be the guy they drove to suicide too.

@70: Just because they aren't irredemable, why should we try to redeem them? That's up to them.
74
@73: Was that a foreseeable consequence, particularly for a college freshman?

In addition to perspective, it seems many people here ignore intent. It's not like they pointed a gun at Clementi and pulled the trigger. It's not like they told Clementi that he'd be better off dead and handed him some pills. They aren't even in the same category as "regular" bullies, who can at least see their victim's blood and tears and know they're causing a lot of harm to someone else. They probably had no idea that their dumb, mean-spirited prank would result in death.

Is the father who accidentally ran over his daughter an "asshole"? Is the woman who ran over a pedestrian because she was texting a "sick little fuck"? Someone is dead-- isn't that all that matters?

Again: find some perspective.
75
This goes WAY beyond evasion of privacy, it's so sad, and such a waste, of a very talented individual. I wish the 2 responsible get prosecuted to the full extent of the law. My heart goes out to his family and friends!!!
76
This goes WAY beyond evasion of privacy, it's so sad, and such a waste, of a very talented individual. I hope and pray the 2 responsible get prosecuted to the full extent of the law. My heart goes out to his family and friends!!!
77
Wow, a lot of you are fuck ups. Don't drive two more people to the brink. And @49, you're a total idiot.
78
@ 70:

Just because they aren't irredeemable, why should we try to redeem them? That's up to them.

Well, they're going to have a hell of a time redeeming themselves if we "fill their lives with misery and hardship [and] let them be the poster child[ren] for sociopathic, bigoted monsters" forever and ever, as you suggest we should.
79
And since I keep talking about "perspective," here's mine:

Five years is the maximum sentence for transmitting sexual images without consent. IMO, the maximum penalty should apply to the worst conduct one could engage in that falls under this law. That means the conduct that 1) has the worst outcome and 2) was for the worst reason.

Outcome
Now "death" is pretty much the worst outcome. I suppose I could cook up a scenario where more than one person dies, but what happened here is close enough to "the worst" that I'm comfortable cranking that lever up to the max, so to speak.

Motive
Now did the suspects transmit sexual images that resulted in death for the worst reason? Well, that isn't at all clear to me. There's the twitter post that suggests Ravi was a bit of a -phobe, but not much else. That's pretty far from "the worst reason"-- in fact, that's pretty much the weakest reason that would still result in sending images without the subject's consent. What's the worst reason? How about this:
Instead of Ravi streaming the video online, he records it to flash video. Then he uses his computer skills to gain access to Clementi's email contact list. Then he tells Clementi that he will send the video to all of his friends and family. Clementi pleads with Ravi not to do it: he mentions that he comes from some fundamentalist whacked-out parents who will literally disown him, that he's at Rutgers on scholarship from a conservative organization and will likely lose that as well, and that his Orchestra is similarly conservative and will similarly eject him. Clementi also says that the other young man in the video is facing similar outcomes should the video be made public. Maybe Clementi also mentions that he has attempted suicide in the past as well.

Ravi's response? "Burn in hell, faggot" as he clicks the "Send" button.
That hypothetical is much, much worse than what actually happened. There would be no question that Ravi was deliberately outing Clementi, that knew how much harm that would do, that Clementi may take his life as a result, and that Ravi was acting with full malice. So IMO, the "motive" lever barely moves.

So worst outcome, far from the worst reason. That to me translates to 2-3 years in jail, not 5 years + ruin his life forever.
80
@ 77:

"@49, you're a total idiot."

At least when I accuse someone else of being an idiot online, I try to back it up. Otherwise, I'd just be indulging in anonymous, long-distance, cowardly name-calling.
81
@74:

"Someone is dead-- isn't that all that matters?"

This is confusing, as it contradicts the rest of your post.
82
@79, you could probably write for the National Enquirer. I mean really, that scenario is soooo much worse than what did happen. That must be why Tyler ACTUALLY killed himself, the hypothetical was too much for him.
83
@79
Seriously? And what are the "best" reasons for taping someone having sex without their consent? "They were SO HOTTT"? Or "I just needed to test my streaming video app, the sex was entirely incidental"? If Dharun and Molly claimed this was why they did it, I suppose you'd let them off with time served and buy them each a pony?
84
@81: Sorry, I was being rhetorical. I'm usually good about not using sarcasm or making rhetorical statements in text, but I slipped.

@82: That's exactly my point: the maximum sentence should be reserved for the maximum wrong-doing, or at least close to it. If additional facts come out on bad motive-- Clementi had in fact confessed suicidal thoughts to Ravi, Ravi was posting anti-gay crap on a pro-Prop 8 site, etc.-- that will move me closer to the maximum sentence. But there isn't enough evidence right now to convince me of malicious intent or that the outcome was foreseeable.

Do you have an actual counterargument, or will you just rely on sarcasm to defend your emotional reaction?
85
@83: Did you miss the part where I said I wanted them to serve 2-3 years?
86
The maximum wrong-doing? You're kidding me right? Tyler is dead. How much worse in the wrong-doing department could it possibly get? You think 2-3 years is good enough when Tyler missed out on potentially decades?
87
@86: Did you miss the rather lengthy discussion about motive above?
88
@87, I've read yr various comments and I just think you have absolutely no empathy. What those two did was mean and hateful. For that alone they deserve harsh prison time in my view. I would give them 10 years, no parole. But their hateful act resulted in a death, so that compounds the crime to me. I'd give them 20 for that, at least.

But they'll probably just get a slap on the wrist.

So if I was the parent of the dead kid the sensible part of me would file a civil suit. The insensible part of me would want them dead.
89
@13 and @20, the asshole would never have taped the guy having sex with a girl. He did it to embarrass and humiliate him--to ruin him. Mission accomplished. Prank? please.
90
I wasn't aware the motive in this case had been established.

If you're still talking hypothetical, I will reiterate some irrefutable facts: Tyler is missing out on potentially decades of life. He will never have the music career he spent hours training for, he'll never find the love of his life, he'll never get married, settle down and buy his first house. He'll never get to have kids of his own, watch them grow up or see them graduate from Rutgers as accomplished musicians. He'll never be a Grandfather, get dentures, have a pace maker installed or grow old with the love of his life.

This is irrefutable. 2-3 years for the maximum wrong-doing, you might as well spit on Tyler's grave too.
91
@89: No, I'm being just, or at least trying to be. You're being emotional and unjust if you think "empathy" should determine the suspects' punishments.

You're also making a rather naive error-- one that I'm honestly shocked that so many adults here are making. You assume that if something horrible happens to one kid, and that outcome was the result of another's actions, then the other person must be horrible. And because you are unable to grasp that the world is not so simple, you assume that my refusal to throw the book at the suspects is caused by my lack of concern for the victim.

Bad outcomes are not always caused by bad people. They can also be caused by immature people, or thoughtless people, or distracted people, or stupid people. This need to put white hats and black hats on everyone is common among children and Tea Baggers, but I truthfully expected better from grown-ups.
92
@90: It hasn't. That's the point. Absent evidence of motive, I cannot endorse a maximum sentence. And neither should anyone else.

"Spit on his grave"? That's an emotional argument, not a logical, just, or rational one. If it's your position that your emotional response should dictate sentencing, then there's no point in any further discussion.
93
I'm not sure how "spit on his grave" is any more emotional than 2-3 years maximum wrong-doing.

But this time you're right, end of discussion.
94
by the way, there is a twitpic account still viewable http://twitpic.com/photos/Dharun

anyway, one of the pics is a twitter post of a woman and replies to her post. the original post asks what is there to do for fun at Rutgers between classes and studying. the suggestions in response include partying, going to a football game and putting buckets over your friend's dorm room. bucket over the dorm room door - that is a college prank.

whoever wrote above about "pimping out a sibling" needs to know that such behavior is not a normal college prank. neither is broadcasting your roommate's sexual encounters over the internet. and for the person who mentioned "american pie" two things - one was it was a MOVIE! and even in the movie, one of the parties was aware of the recording.
95
@85
But your 2-3 yrs was based on the assumptions you're currently making about their motivation, and my question was what if they claimed they had a different motivation. Since, as @82 points out, you obviously put a lot of thought into this "worst motive" scenario which would merit a full 5 yrs. in prison, I was curious how far down the scale goes in the other direction.

Motive is *already* taken into account in determining THE CRIME BEING CHARGED (e.g., 1st degree murder vs. manslaughter), not just the severity of the crime WITHIN THOSE LIMITS. So why should his motivation have anything to do with his sentence for whatever crime he may be convicted of?

In your MUCH, MUCH WORSE hypothetical scenario, wouldn't Ravi in fact be guilty (certainly morally, and quite possibly legally) of MURDER, not just invasion of privacy? Would you really only give him 5 yrs. for that????
96
@95: My assumption on motive is that they didn't have one, i.e. the presumption of innocence. If they later claim they did it for reasons other than the "stupid prank gone awry" (unlikely), or if evidence comes out that their intentions were other than "stupid prank gone awry" (more likely), then I will revise my assessment.

Motive is almost always a factor in sentencing. That's where things like "the suspect showed no remorse" verses "he immediately called 911 when he found the body" come into play.

Under my scenario, Ravi would not be guilty of murder legally. He is not the proximate cause of Clementi's death; Clementi himself is. Morally... I'm not sure, although I could probably firm up the scenario to get me to "yes."
97
1 - Is there is a "gay" component of what happened from the roommates side? There's certainly a sexual component, but unless the meaning of the word "yay" has changed, no anti-gay sentiment has been expressed by either of the two roommates. Technically, Dahrun only noted that Clementi's partner was male, not that Clementi was gay.
2 - the guy didn't set up spy cameras to catch Clementi, he accessed the camera built into his laptop - which he may have intentionally positioned to catch everything. It's easy to do and requires very little planning or forethought.
3 - Ironically, we'll find out way more about the private lives of Dahrun and Wei than we'll ever know about Clementi.
4 - Rutgers isn't some Ivy League school, it's the flagship state school of New Jersey. It's the equivalent of UW, and as I have proved, you don't need to be too smart to get into either institution.
5 - the legal issue: It's unlikely they'll be found guilty for anything other than the invasion of privacy charge - while reckless, there's no direct link between this event and his suicide, and any evidence that there might be (ie, a statement from Clementi) will be inadmissible now that he's dead and can't be cross-examined. They'd be very smart to plea-bargain this one, as I suspect this case has a high "throw the book at 'em" coefficient.
98
@96
You seemed to be attempting to posit a scenario where Ravi knew with absolute certainty (and quite possibly INTENDED), or at least rationally could have known, or at least one would expect someone pulling an absolutely motiveless prank to have the simple capacity to recognize, that his actions would cause Clementi to kill himself. "There would be no question that Ravi was deliberately outing Clementi, that knew how much harm that would do, that Clementi may take his life as a result, and that Ravi was acting with full malice." And for you THAT still falls within the context of an invasion of privacy crime having a maximum sentence of 5 yrs.???? I've changed my mind -- forget having you on my jury, I want you as my prosecutor.

FYI, your difficulty in having your motive lever moved, compared to the ease with which you construct elaborately detailed fantasy scenarios of how this case could have been MUCH MUCH WORSE (wherein MORE THAN ONE person died or the roommate was a mustache-twirling evil criminal mastermind), plus of course "He is not the proximate cause of Clementi's death; Clementi himself is", is why people find you lacking in basic human empathy or at least unable to display it in Slog comment form, entirely regardless of what impact any of these things should have on Molly and Dharun's sentencing.
99
@98

No, the people "lacking in basic human empathy" can either be for or against "throwing the book" at the accused without knowing essential facts. I interned at a local public defender's office, and plenty of those people had empathy. I don't agree with every step of "I hate screen name"'s analysis, but I think accusing him of lacking empathy is a cheap cop out. If anyone you care about is ever accused of a crime involving nuances of intent, you'll suddenly get real interested in looking more deeply into the state of mind of the offender. And when you do that- guess what? You'll be using empathy.

And as far as choosing your prosecutor, I'd advise against voting for a person who seeks penalties which will only end up being reversed on appeal- assuming they can even get those penalties imposed at the lower court level. That's a big waste of your money.
100
CNN has more information:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/09/30/new.…

So here's something no one has yet raised: do we know that the webcam broadcast caused Clementi to commit suicide?

We know that there was a broadcast, and that the next day Clementi committed suicide, and we assumed the two were related. But what if Clementi killed himself for an entirely different reason?

If "Cit2mo" was Clementi, it sounded like he was pissed about Ravi's asshattery but dealing with it: deciding whether it would be worthwhile to complain about Ravi, ultimately filing a complaint, etc. It certainly doesn't sound like he immediately drove to the bridge as soon as he discovered his privacy had been invaded, which is kinda what we all assumed.

Of course, he could have gotten a disowning email from his parents between Cit2mo's last post and Clementi's jump, but something else could have happened as well. I still think the video was what drove Clementi to suicide, but I am open to additional evidence on that as well.

As for @98, I am immensely amused that someone who is apparently incapable of empathizing with the suspects is accusing me of lack of empathy. I don't feel sorry for the suspects, but I am trying to understand where they were coming from. I do feel sorry for Clementi, and I'm also trying to understand where he was coming from. Apparently, the "empathetic" thing to do is leap to a conclusion, close your mind, and make no effort to see all aspects of a situation.

Huh. Sounds like what the right calls "patriotism."