Indian American student pleads not guilty to hate crime

New York: An Indian American student accused of driving his roommate to suicide by secretly streaming his dorm-room tryst with another man pleaded not guilty to a hate crime and other charges.

A former Rutgers, New Jersey State University freshman, Dharun Ravi, 19, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge – bias intimidation, which says that Ravi committed the callous crime because his roommate Tyler Clementi was gay.

Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge Sep 22, 2010 after his secret was revealed.

Ravi has also been indicted on numerous other charges, including invasion of privacy. Clementi’s death after the webcam incident sparked a national conversation about the brutal bullying many young gays and lesbians endure.

“Our family is grateful for the active work of the prosecutor’s office in this case,” the New York Post cited Clementi’s parents as stating. “We are eager to see the criminal justice process move forward.”

Earlier, Ravi’s alleged accomplice, Molly Wei, 19, worked out a deal with prosecutors to dodge jail by agreeing to testify against her high school pal and co-defendant.

Clementi’s parents approved that plea deal. Wei has since dropped out of Rutgers.

Ravi was inside Wei’s dorm room when he used her laptop to turn on a webcam inside the room he shared with Clementi, authorities said.

Three days later, the 18-year-old Ridgewood, New Jersey, teen jumped to his death. (IANS)