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Tyler Clementi's Parents Speak Out On Son's Suicide, Dharun Ravi's Trial And Their New Foundation: VIDEO

JaneJoeClementi

In their first formal interview since their son's 2010 suicide, Joe and Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi's parents, sat down with NBC's Hester Holt to discuss how Dharun Ravi's actions led to Clementi's death ("This was an executed plan," says Joe), how they're coping since the trial and the way their their evangelical Christianity influenced their reaction to Tyler's coming out.

"Sin needs to be taken out of homosexuality," they learned.

The duo also express their surprise and appreciation at all the national attention around Clementi's death and the hate crime trial against Ravi, and Tyler's brother James, also gay, speaks out about the contentious ruling against Ravi, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail for his role in the 18-year old's death. He only spent 20 days behind bars.

While they're still upset over the trial, the Clementi family is now focusing on their new foundation, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, through which they're trying to erode social discrimination and save other young men and women from the fate that befell Tyler.

Watch the interview AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Tyler Clementi's Parents Speak Out On Son's Suicide, Dharun Ravi's Trial And Their New Foundation: VIDEO" »


Tyler Clementi's Parents Sit Down With NBC: 'Sin Needs To Be Taken Out Of Homosexuality'

JaneClementi

For the first time since his 2010 suicide, Tyler Clementi's parents are sitting down for a formal interview to discuss the young man's life and death.

In an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt, Tyler's father, James, admits Tyler had issues with depression that led to his suicide, but also insists that roommate Dharun Ravi's spying "was the straw that broke the camel's back."

Jane Clementi agrees, telling Holt that the "humiliation" of having his private sex life tweeted and shared was too much for her son to bear. "“I think it was – it was the humiliation that his roommates and his dorm mates were watching him in a very intimate act and that they were laughing behind his back," she says. "The last thing that Tyler looked at before he left the dorm room for the bridge was the Twitter page, where Ravi was announcing Tyler's activities."

Mrs. Clementi also opens up about how her son, who had only come out to her a few weeks before his death, changed her view of homosexuality.

She says the news [of Tyler's homosexuality] "shocked" her, in part because of her strong Christian faith.  Since then she says she’s gone from "point A" in her beliefs "to point B."

"Was that point A, the point of 'homosexuality is a sin?'" asked Holt.
"Well, yes," Mrs. Clementi answered. "And of trying to just accept it."

She said she also realizes that Tyler may have misread her reaction during their conversation. He later texted a friend that his mother had rejected him after he came out to her.

"It just was like a dagger," Mrs. Clementi said. "And that took me a long time to process. Because I did not think I had rejected him."

The interview airs tomorrow night. Judging from the short clip included AFTER THE JUMP, I recommend you keep a hanky close…

Watch NBC's teaser AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Tyler Clementi's Parents Sit Down With NBC: 'Sin Needs To Be Taken Out Of Homosexuality'" »


Dharun Ravi Released from Jail After 20 Days of 30-Day Sentence

Dharun Ravi has been released from jail, the AP reports:

RaviDharun Ravi, 20, reported to the Middlesex County jail on May 31, though he could have remained free while his case is appealed.

A judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail — far less than the 10-year prison sentence he could have given him. He still faces three years of probation, plus more than $11,000 in fines and assessments, 300 hours of community service, and counseling. Like other county jail inmates, Ravi automatically was given five days off for good behavior and five for working. Jail officials say he has not done anything to have those credits taken away.

Federal immigration authorities said Monday that Ravi will not be deported to his native India. He lived there until he was 5 years old and remains a citizen, though he is in the United States legally.

Ravi's attorneys filed papers on June 4 to appeal his conviction.


Dharun Ravi to Appeal Conviction in Tyler Clementi Case

Dharun Ravi's attorney's have filed a notice of intent to appeal his conviction in the Rutgers webcam case involving Tyler Clementi, the Star-Ledger reports:

RaviThe notice, filed June 4 with the appellate court, lists the proposed issues to be raised, including that the bias intimidation statute is unconstitutional as applied to Ravi and that several decisions by Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman, who presided over the trial earlier this year, "prejudiced the defendant's ability to get a fair trial."

The appeal process could take upwards of two years before a three-judge panel hears the appeal. Ravi is currently serving a 30-day sentence in the Middlesex County jail.

Warden Edmond Cicchi of the county jail said last month that inmates at the jail are automatically awarded 10 days for good behavior, which would place Ravi's release date at sometime next week, since he began his sentence May 31.


Dharun Ravi Apologizes, Says He'll Begin Jail Term Despite Appeal

Dharun Ravi today apologized for his actions in the case surrounding Tyler Clementi's suicide, in a statement released by his attorney.

D_raviSaid Ravi in the statement:

"Last Monday, I was sentenced to 3 years probation, 300 hours of community service, a fine of more than $10,000.00, and 30 days in jail. Since the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office appealed that sentence, the sentence does not have to start until the appeal is decided. Nevertheless, I decided to accept and hopefully complete the sentence as soon as possible. It's the only way I can go on with my life.

I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on September 19, 2010 and September 21, 2010. My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices. I am surrendering myself to the Middlesex County Correctional Facility on Thursday, May 31, 2012, to start my 30-day period of imprisonment."

NBC News adds: "Ravi's lawyers have said they expect to appeal the convictions entirely. They say that he was not hateful and that authorities charged him with such serious crimes because of Clementi's suicide even though he was not charged with the 18-year-old's death."


Dharun Ravi and the Debate Over the (In)Justice of Hate Crime Laws

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student who spied on Tyler Clementi and contributed to Tyler's death, received a sentence of 30 days in jail and 3 years of probation. He is to perform 300 hours of community service, undergo counseling, and pay a $10,000 fine that will go to an organization providing assistance to victims of bias crimes. This sentence is significantly more lenient than the decade in jail Mr. Ravi could have received.

Dharun_Ravi_AP120521111613_480x360I agree with Nathaniel Frank over at the Huffington Post, who said that Mr. Ravi's behavior was "inexcusable." His actions surely contributed to Clementi's death" and "were malicious, irresponsible, dehumanizing, and criminal." And yet, like Mr. Frank, I was almost "relieved" to hear that Mr. Ravi would not face the maximum sentence. I would have been somewhat more satisfied with a few-month sentence rather than a one-month sentence, but that is not the point. In a previous, somewhat controversial prior column on the Tyler tragedy, I argued what Mr. Frank would argue later: That we have to be careful not to focus our search for justice solely on one individual where greater social forces are to blame and then prematurely congratulate ourselves and wash our hands of the responsibility to address those social problems once Mr. Ravi's trial is over.

Here's part of Mr. Frank's take, worded much more artfully than mine:

While Ravi must take responsibility for his actions, we are all accountable, not just him. Anti-gay sentiment lies deep within many, perhaps most, of us, as does an atavistic urge to denigrate and exclude out-group members. The fact that this may be our hardwiring -- evolved from a time when we lived in tribes of 50 to 100 closely related individuals -- in no way justifies indulging those impulses, but it does remind us that we have to fight against them rather than pretending they don't exist and acting like those who exhibit our darker side are outliers. And punishing one dumb kid for failing to rein in his dark side primarily serves to make us feel better when it shouldn't, to shift the burden of responsibility to anyone but ourselves. How did the 20-year-old Ravi grow up in a world where he thought any of this was OK and might even win him praise?

While Mr. Frank's column touches on the sociological forces that created the circumstances for Mr. Ravi to think that his disgusting behavior was permissible or normal, he mostly focuses on what it means to seek "justice" for Tyler, his family, and yes, even Mr. Ravi and his family. I would like to touch on that topic today.

The Tyler Clementi case, Mr. Ravi's trial, and the hate crime enhancements that could have sent Mr. Ravi to prison for a long time epitomize the tension between an emotional desire for retributive punishment -- the idea that bad acts deserve punishment for no other reason than the categorical view that bad acts deserve social condemnation -- and a smarter, case-by-case appreciation for the palliative or deterrent effect of the law. I argue that hate crime enhancements are almost exclusively retributive and their across the board application risks turning the criminal law into a tool of vengeance.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Dharun Ravi and the Debate Over the (In)Justice of Hate Crime Laws" »


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