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Lawyers For Students Who Broadcast Tyler Clementi's Intimate Encounter Claim No Sexual Contact On Webcam Video

Lawyers and friends of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, the two former Rutgers students (they both withdrew from the school late last week) who filmed Tyler Clementi's intimate encounter with another man intimate before the freshman student took his own life, have announced that there was no sex or nudity involved in the webcam broadcast. They also claim that the video was only viewed from one computer: Wei's.

The Star-Ledger reports:

"I’m unaware of any evidence of sexual contact," said Rubin Sinins, Wei’s attorney. "The statute defining sexual contact refers to nudity and private parts, and, to my knowledge, nothing like that was seen. I’m also unaware of any evidence that any video was recorded, reproduced or disseminated in any way." Law enforcement officials declined to discuss the case because it is still under investigation. Prosecutors are considering whether to upgrade the charges against Ravi and Wei to bias crimes because Clementi was gay.

The article also includes accounts from friends of the duo: "She said, 'Dharun came in to my room and turned on my computer to web chatting. We watched for two minutes," said Sean Yan, 18, a longtime friend. Wei told friends she saw Clementi and a male visitor kissing. She described the visitor as 'kind of sketchy,' with ragged clothes and a scruffy beard, Yan said. Later on the night of Sept. 19, Ravi used his Twitter account to tell friends that he and Wei had seen his roommate 'making out with a dude.' The feed went out to Ravi’s nearly 150 Twitter followers."

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  1. Has anyone talked to the dude he hooked up with?

    Posted by: Ron | Oct 31, 2010 6:34:45 PM

  2. Tyler is still dead because of those two idiots. No exoneration, no acceptable excuse can change the fact that they drove Tyler to suicide.
    Those two students need to be prosecuted for manslaughter.

    Posted by: Gene | Oct 31, 2010 6:50:49 PM

  3. My response is so what? They still maliciously splashed images of Tyler kissing another man in private onto the internet. They showed it to friends and humiliated him for no cause but to be vicious. They are just as guilty of murder as if they had pushed Tyler off the bridge themselves. The lawyers are trying to play down the issue. I'm thinking this will only backfire on them as it shows they are guilty of displaying this video publicly.

    Posted by: Brad | Oct 31, 2010 6:59:51 PM

  4. @Ron: I've wondered about that, too. Who was the guy Tyler was with? There has been almost no mention of him. This report was the first time I've read any kind of description. Maybe even wondering about it is inappropriate, given the circumstances.

    Posted by: DougChgo | Oct 31, 2010 7:05:50 PM

  5. Great justification for violating this man's privacy and intimate moments: Since technically no nudity or genitals were broadcast, there isn't "any evidence of sexual contact."

    Who wrote these rules, Bristol Palin?

    (And really, if nothing was recorded, how can Wei's attorney assert this? Oh--"...I'm unaware of any evidence of.." Nice spin.)

    Posted by: lodenmuse | Oct 31, 2010 7:08:45 PM

  6. these two pieces of shit still won't own up to what they did. i hope people never let them forget. maybe then they will learn what is like to taunted and bullied.

    Posted by: walter | Oct 31, 2010 7:26:06 PM

  7. "ragged clothes and a scruffy beard" = "not one of our corwd"

    Therefore sufficient reason to dump on Tyler.

    These evil little shits haven't begun to suffer for their crime.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 31, 2010 7:30:41 PM

  8. Assuming of course that they are telling the truth. And they have certainly shown themselves to be paragons of virtue...

    Posted by: silverkjk | Oct 31, 2010 7:54:34 PM

  9. This is headed for a plea deal and a sentence of probation, which given the circumstances of this case is a just outcome. Many of us in the gay community hyped this into something that it wasn't, because the narrative of gay bullying suits our very legitimate agenda. The only problem is that there is not a shred of evidence that this was bullying in any way. It appears to be a stupid college prank gone horribly wrong and, I might add, with completely unforeseen consequences. The fact that the victim of the prank was gay doesn't make it bullying or homophobia. The roommates deserve to be held accountable FOR WHAT THEY DID. But, they DID NOT PUSH HIM OFF THE BRIDGE. Those who are suggesting an equivalency to their actions and Tyler's death are ludicrous and acting like a lynch mob screaming for blood. This is neither a hate crime or manslaughter.

    Posted by: JimSur212 | Oct 31, 2010 8:21:04 PM

  10. @JIMSUR212: I think a broader definition of what entails bullying is in order here. Yes, they did not push him off a bridge, nor did they shout homophobic slurs at him. However, they did publicly mock his sexuality. If the perpetrator's room mate had been kissing a girl, do you think it would have been broadcast and followed up with a Twitter post saying "he was kissing a GIRL!"

    The truth is, we are still being mocked and humiliated and treated as jokes...something at which to laugh. It's an act of intimidation. That is a form of bullying.

    Posted by: Scrammy | Oct 31, 2010 8:43:54 PM

  11. @jimsur212

    Couldn't agree with you more. Tyler's death is a tragedy, but it is a tragedy for his friends and family -- not a "community" desperate for a misplaced martyr. Let's save the hate-crimes accusations for bona fide hate crimes. As sad as it may seem, the only person responsible for Tyler Clementis' death is Tyler Clementis. Let his actual community mourn in peace.

    Posted by: David Kaufman | Oct 31, 2010 8:44:04 PM

  12. This is going to attract the wrath of many on here,but I'll say it anyway 'cause I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking it:

    ...Maybe Tyler was embarrassed being seen with the type of guy he was seen with? I'm becoming more convinced this guy he hooked up with plays some kind of role in his decision to commit suicide. I'm becoming more convinced Tyler had some deep things going on in his life and mind [not just that he was gay, or external homophobia]. It would be interesting if this guy would come out in the light and speak up. There's more to Tyler's suicide than being 'caught' with a dude, or homophobia...these are not the real reasons why he killed himself IMO.

    ...CUE frothing and ranting by the usual suspects.

    [...AND NO, I didn't say it was alright what his roommate did...]

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 31, 2010 8:51:43 PM

  13. Using regular iChat, you can't broadcast to tons of different people, just 1-3 others I think. If you have an AIM account and use it on iChat, there might be some other way to mass-stream it, like via USTREAM or something like that. But I think in this case, it was not broadcasting to tons of people at all. That doesn't minimize the issue but still, it makes you wonder if Tyler Clementi knew this or not. In the end, we don't know his exact motivation. I sure hope he didn't choose to kill himself based on a faulty understanding of the technology.

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 31, 2010 8:57:37 PM

  14. JIMSUR - I guess you don't think "a stupid college prank gone horribly wrong" can amount to bullying? You must not have been to college.

    They don't have to push him off the bridge to be responsible, at least in part. The law, and common sense, are very clear abotu that.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Oct 31, 2010 9:08:20 PM

  15. They deliberately humiliated him for sport, and now they are living with the consequences for the rest of their lives--whatever the legal outcome. I'm sure they didn't intend for him to kill himself, but when you do damaging things to others, you can't predict how they might react. The lesson that should be passed down to others is that you need to think before you bully or indulge in that "harmless prank." If you wouldn't like that done to you, don't do it to anyone else. Because "I didn't mean to" won't add up to much after someone kills themselves in response to your actions. You'll still have blood on your hands.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 31, 2010 9:25:04 PM

  16. That's still (at a minimum) invasion of privacy and humiliation/harassment

    Posted by: ravewulf | Oct 31, 2010 10:01:00 PM

  17. I agree they deliberately humiliated Tyler. And while it may be true nothing intimate was shone, or that no one even saw it, how would Tyler have known that? Based on what I have read, here is aplausible scenerio. Tyler is a young man discovering himself in college. He somehow learns his room mate had filmed his personal encounters and the room mate has announced he is broadcasting these to the public. Tyler's family and friends may not know he is gay. He is terrified and is not in an emotional or mental place to deal with the possible repercussions of this disclosure,so he feels he has no alternative but to take his own life. Straight people have NO IDEA what it is like to deal with being gay. Tyler's personal life was violated. So the guy was "sketchy", maybe Tyler was attracted to a "type". WHO CARES. That totally misses the point. A talented young man is DEAD, and the catalyst for his death was the intrusive, immature, stupid and criminal actions of these two young people.

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 31, 2010 10:04:52 PM

  18. Can Queens Think? I seriously wonder sometimes. Just as I suspected, having read Tyler's justusboys postings, NO ONE SAW HIM HAVE SEX.

    Now why did TC take his own life?
    Might you all be asking Wei and Ravi to hang for the reactions of...

    a) the lover, who freaked out and rejected Tyler, who naïvely expected support

    b) the parents Clementi, who might have been more concerned for their reputation or grandparental hopes than Tyler's state of mind or...

    c) Tyler himself, who might have had an overdelicate or ginger-histrionic personality problem?

    New evidence demands new attitudes.

    Posted by: Mlle Marple | Oct 31, 2010 10:05:33 PM

  19. http://fablog.ehrensteinland.com/2010/10/31/fait-diver-scruffy/

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 31, 2010 10:07:31 PM

  20. "...they DID NOT PUSH HIM OFF THE BRIDGE...."

    That's for a jury to decide, not you.

    If I were on that jury, I would say, yeah, they did.

    Posted by: Tom H. | Oct 31, 2010 10:20:42 PM

  21. to be honest, i'm still hazy on what actually happened. from what i've read, i've gathered that tyler asked his roommate for privacy, roommate left the room with his ichat vid on, went to the girl's room and watched, and then tweeted about what was going on? how would other people get access to the video? and how many accessed it?

    is that right? no mass ustream or justin.tv coverage of what was going on?

    it was a series of unfortunate events (i'm not even sure i'd classify this as a prank) that led to a tragedy. not sure if i'd throw the book at the two kids question (certainly not the girl, and i don't know enough about what the guy actually did).

    Posted by: Larson | Oct 31, 2010 10:31:58 PM

  22. I'm embarrassed right now, hearing so many gay or gay-friendly people saying, "you know, as long as the guy who videotaped Tyler didn't mean any harm, then, meh...let's let him off the hook."
    Tyler's roommate videotaped him and broadcast it (i don't care if it's to 8 people or to 8000 people). That's bullying. That's not a prank, it's not a goof, it's not cute. It's brutal. It's outing a teenager WITH MALICE before that teenager was ready to come out.
    If we're all in such a beautiful, understanding place for the perpetrator, and we think aww, it's just a little prank ... let's have a moment of understanding for the victim, who had NO CHOICE. Who was publicly outed. Who was emotionally raped. Who had a SCARLET "Q" attached to his heart by an insensitive, violent, aggressor.
    And then he jumped.
    Anyone still defending the bully?

    Posted by: wbnyc | Oct 31, 2010 10:52:23 PM

  23. http://fablog.ehrensteinland.com/2010/10/31/fait-diver-scruffy/

    POSTED BY: DAVID EHRENSTEIN | OCT 31, 2010 10:07:31 PM


    El Hombre Herido or English title: The Wounded Man is a great flick.


    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 31, 2010 10:58:25 PM

  24. This is probably going to get me yelled at, but I'm still uncertain what Molly Wei actually did. A case can be made that Ravi inflicted intentional emotional harm (at the very least) by not only taping Clementi, but by then broadcasting that taping. Did Wei have something to do with the publication of that broadcast? Did she just watch along with Ravi and, presumably, a number of other viewers? Is it just because Ravi was in her room?

    I'm serious. So far, the only arguments I've heard are against Ravi's actions. I have no idea what Wei's being accused of in this other than having a questionable friend.

    Posted by: Quakerjono | Oct 31, 2010 11:02:00 PM

  25. Here we go -- "I didn't do anything wrong and it's all the fag's own damn fault." Right on time. The bastards.

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | Oct 31, 2010 11:03:06 PM

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