The Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide after his roommate spied on his encounter with another man said when he revealed he was gay his mother "completely rejected" him, court documents showed, according to local media.
Arguing the despair that drove Tyler Clementi to jump to his death from the George Washington Bridge started before he arrived at Rutgers, lawyers for his roommate, Dharun Ravi, said in court documents that criminal charges against their client should be dismissed.
Lawyers for Ravi, now 19 and charged with bullying Clementi for being gay by spying on him with a webcam, say prosecutors presented a distorted and misleading account of the case.
His lawyers argue that Ravi had no problem with Clementi’s homosexuality, and even sent Clementi text messages attempting to reassure him of this.
They also cited evidence of Clementi’s despair predating when he met Ravi, pointing to instant-messaging transcripts in which Clementi told a friend his mother "completely rejected" him after he told his parents he was gay.
"Whatever feelings were controlling (Clementi)’s behavior appear to have had their roots far from Busch Campus, and far from (Ravi)," Ravi’s attorney wrote in documents filed in New Jersey Superior Court on Wednesday.
His lawyers repeated a request for documents they say prosecutors have not turned over, including files Clementi created on his computer before he left for college labeled "Why does it have to be so painful" and "Sorry".
Within a day of creating the "Sorry" document, Clementi used his Cellphone to take three photographs of the George Washington Bridge in July 2010, a month before the beginning of the semester.
Clementi returned to the bridge over the Hudson River two months later and jumped to his death.
In the preceding days, there had been some tension between Clementi and Ravi. Clementi had invited over a man in his 20s he apparently met on the Internet, and had asked Ravi to excuse himself from the room for the evening.
Ravi’s lawyers say witness testimony and text-message and instant-messaging transcripts show Ravi was unnerved by a "random" older man going into his room with his roommate. They said Ravi briefly used the computer of a friend to switch on his webcam in the room to see what was going on.
After seeing Clementi kissing another man, Ravi posted a note on Twitter, "Turned on iChat and saw my roommate making out with a dude. Yay."
But Clementi later appeared to make light of it, telling a friend: "When I first read the tweet, I defs felt violated. But then When I remembered what actually happened Idk… doesn’t seem sooo bad lol."
He later filled out an application to switch roommates.
Ravi’s lawyers say prosecutors have no evidence Ravi saved or distributed any indecent images of Clementi, citing this as among reasons privacy invasion charges should be dismissed.
Ravi’s lawyers said both men were equally juvenile in their online comments. They noted Clementi chatted with a friend about Ravi’s Indian heritage, describing his family as: "sooo indian/first gen americanish…just like…first son off to college…his rents def owna dunkin."
A grand jury indicted Ravi on 15 criminal counts in April, including bias intimidation and privacy invasion. Ravi is due in court again on September 9.