Updated at 12:35 p.m. on April 20, 2010
NEW BRUNSWICK – A Middlesex County grand jury returned a 15-count indictment against a former Rutgers University student from Plainsboro today, alleging that he unlawfully invaded his roommate’s privacy.
The grand jury also charged Dharun Ravi, 19, with bias crimes, tampering with evidence, hindering his own apprehension and witness tampering, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan.
Authorities allege that Ravi used a computer in another room to activate a hidden webcam in his dorm room to stream images of his roommate with another man on Sept. 19, 2010. Ravi allegedly used the hidden webcam again two days later.
While the prosecutor’s statement and the grand jury indictment refer to the victims only by the initials T.C. and M.B., reports published last fall identified Ravi’s roommate as Tyler Cementi, an 18-year-old freshman from Ridgewood who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
“The indictment returned today charges that the act that precipitated the tragic suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi last September was a hate crime aimed at intimidating Clementi based on his sexual orientation,” said New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow. “New Jersey’s Bias Crimes Law recognizes the terrible harm caused by acts of bigotry and hatred and imposes harsher punishment on those who commit such crimes. This indictment is an important step in this heartbreaking case.”
Another Rutgers student, Molly Wei, 19, of West Windsor, was also charged with invasion of privacy. Kaplan said that her case was not presented the grand jury at this time, but it remains active.
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