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Rutgers Spycam Trial: In first police interview, Dharun Ravi admitted to invading Tyler Clementi's privacy

Dharun Ravi, accused of bullying his college roommate, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide, faces trial. CBS News

Dharun Ravi, accused of bullying his college roommate, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide, is on trial in Middlesex County, N.J. Superior Court
CBS News
(CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - In Dharun Ravi's initial interview with police he admitted that he had invaded roommate Tyler Clementi's privacy by turning his webcam on while Clementi had a guest in the room.  The video of his initial interview was screened in court on Wednesday.

Pictures: Tyler ClementiPictures: Rutgers Spycam Trial

Prosecutors showed a video Wednesday of a Sept. 23, 2010 interrogation where detectives grilled Ravi about whether he used a webcam to view his roommate's encounter with another man.

"Is it safe to say you invaded his privacy?," asked a detective.

After a pause, Ravi said, "Well yes, but..."

In the interview, Ravi, dressed in a black t-shirt and sandals, described the man Clementi brought into the room on Sept. 19 as "a little weird." He also said he got "a bad vibe from him." He said he turned on the camera because he had valuables in the room. Ravi also said that after seeing what he assumed was Clementi and the man being intimate, he felt "really uncomfortable and guilty that I saw that."

He also said his Twitter posting "daring" friends to watch a web stream was in jest and that he had disabled his webcam before roommate Tyler Clementi had his guest over a second time.

"When I'm uncomfortable about something I just try to joke about it," said Ravi.

Early on Wednesday, jurors saw text messages Ravi sent to Clementi attempting to explain the incident with the webcam.

The apology, sent at 8:46 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2010, read: "I want to explain what happened. Sunday night when you requested to have someone over I didn't realize you wanted the room in private. I went to Mollys room and I was showing her how I set up my computer so I can access it from anywhere. I turned on my camera and saw you in the corner of the screen and I immediately closed it. I felt uncomfortable and guilty of what happened. Obviously I told people what occurred so they could give me advice. Then Tuesday when you requested the room again, I wanted to make sure what happened Sunday wouldn't happen again and not to video chat me from 9:30 to 12. Just in case, I turned my camera away and put my computer to sleep so even if anyone tried it wouldn't work. I wanted to make amends for Sunday night. I'm sorry if you heard something distorted and disturbing but I assure you all my actions were good-natured."

Throughout the nearly hour-long interview with police on Sept. 23, Ravi sits on the edge of his chair. However, when the detective tells Ravi "it looks like" Clementi received Ravi's texts attempting to explain the situation just before he posted on Facebook he was going to jump off the George Washington Bridge, Ravi leans forward and puts his hand on his head.

The interview ended when detectives left the room. They returned to tell Ravi that his father wanted him to have an attorney.

Ravi is facing 15 counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation which is a hate crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Complete coverage of Tyler Clementi and the Dharun Ravi trial on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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