The trial of Dharun Ravi continued today with defense attorney Steven Altman introducing into evidence a text message from September 22 which that seemed to suggest Ravi didn’t have a problem with Clementi’s sexuality.
The text read:
“I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it… In fact, one of my closest friends is gay and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy and never broached it as a topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don’t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.”
But it’s possible the text was a just a ruse by Ravi, who was at least aware Clementi had contacted Rutgers about the webcam situation, if not of his roommate’s suicidal mindset.
Clementi took his own life the same day, so there’s no way of knowing if he read the message.
Earlier, a computer forensics expert testified that dozens of messages were deleted from Ravi’s phone, dating from Sept 18 to 23, the day after Clementi’s suicide. That includes messages to high-school friends Michelle Huang and Molly Wei, the latter of whom lived across the hall in the same Rutgers dorm.
Officials at Verizon still had copies of the texts, one of which was from Ravi to friend and dorm mate Alissa Agarwal: “Roommate asked for the room. I went into Molly [wei]‘s room and turned on my webcam I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
Wei was charged with invasion of privacy but was granted immunity in return for cooperating with prosecutors and entering an intervention program.