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Defense in Tyler Clementi case says defendant was just immature

Dharun Ravi

Dharun Ravi Photo Credit: Dharun Ravi (Pool Photo)

The defense in the Rutgers webcam trial said the defendant's decision to spy on his roommate's sexual encounter with another man was the immature behavior of a "typical 18-year-old kid" and not a hate crime.

Steven Altman said Dharun Ravi had no bias against gays and, instead, childishly decided to use a webcam to covertly see dormmate Tyler Clementi's tryst with an older man.

"Why we're here is because on Sept. 19, and Sept. 21, 2010, an 18-year-old boy, a kid, a college freshman, had an experience, had an encounter that he wasn't ready for," Altman told the jury

Altman added that the jury would decide whether Ravi's behavior was because he was "hateful and he was biased" and "anti-gay," or because he was "stupid, ignorant, maybe immature and a typical 18-year-old kid."

Clementi killed himself on Sept. 22, 2010, and his death was widely seen as a consequence of gay bullying.

Ravi, now 20, who is not charged in Clementi's death, is charged with 15 counts of invasion of privacy, witness and evidence tampering and bias intimidation, which is a hate crime.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges. Although Ravi has lived nearly his entire life in the U.S., he is not a citizen, and could be deported back to his native India.

Ravi secretly broadcast two gay encounters Clementi had with a man he met online to friends. Clementi killed himself a day after the second encounter.

(with Reuters)

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