Facebook

Twitter

iTunes

RSS

HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Entries in Roommate (2)

Wednesday
Mar072012

Rutgers Trial: Tyler Clementi Saw Roommate's Apology Just Before Suicide

ABC News(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was told by police that his text message apology for spying on roommate Tyler Clementi was likely the last message Clementi received before killing himself.

In a taped interview with investigators the day after Clementi's suicide, Ravi is seen struggling to understand as he is told that his apology to Clementi was received just minutes before Clementi posted a Facebook message saying, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

"Did he get that text before?" Ravi asked investigators.

"That's the way it looks," an officer responded.

"So he got mine, and then sent his?" Ravi asked, to which the investigators responded yes.

The tape was shown in a New Jersey courtroom Wednesday as part of the prosecution's case against Ravi, who is accused of spying on Clementi during a gay sexual encounter just days before Clementi's death.

Ravi is charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

In the video, which gave the jury its first opportunity to hear Ravi's version of events from the week of Sept. 19, 2010, Ravi is seen contradicting his own statements and appears to be lying to investigators.

After spying on Sept.19, Ravi sent out Twitter and text messages to friends encouraging them to spy on Clementi's next date through Ravi's webcam on Sept. 21, according to documents presented in court and according to testimony by other students. During the questioning, however, Ravi denied any intention of spying on Clementi on Sept. 21.

"Tuesday (Clementi) asked for the room again. This time I knew it was going to happen, so then I told everyone, I told my friends not to chat me. I turned my camera off," Ravi said on the videotape.

As the investigators challenged Ravi's version of events, he claimed that his text messages were "just jokes" and that his actions on the night of Sept. 21 -- allegedly turning the camera off and not spying -- are what matters.

"I said that sarcastically, first of all, and second of all I turned off my computer," Ravi said. "The fact is if you ask people, one of the kids in the hall told me, oh the computer wasn't working."

Investigators also asked Ravi whether he "deliberately" spied on his roommate. When Ravi responds that he did not, investigators reference a text message Ravi sent his friend, Molly Wei, asking her whether she confessed to police that they spied "on purpose."

Ravi responded that he did send the text message.

After investigators explained that "deliberately" and "on purpose" meant the same thing, Ravi admitted that he spied on Clementi deliberately.

The questioning ended abruptly when investigators were told that Ravi's father had arrived at the police station requesting that his son be represented by a lawyer in any further questioning. Police asked Ravi if he agreed with his father, and Ravi said yes.

At the end of the video, police investigators told Ravi they might charge him with invading Clementi's privacy, even if he had nothing to do with Clementi's suicide.

The tape was entered into evidence as the prosecution winds down its case against Ravi. The prosecution is expected to rest Thursday. The defense will then have an opportunity to call its witnesses for the remainder of the trial.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar042012

Woman Sues College Over Roommate's Sex

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(EASTON, Mass.) -- Sometime college dorm rooms make for strange bedfellows.

Such was the case for Lindsay Blankmeyer, a former student at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., who filed a suit against the school claiming that her roommate's alleged inappropriate sexual behavior drove her into a deep depression.

Blankmeyer is seeking $150,000 in damages in the suit, which was filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, citing violations of the Rehabilitation Act, the federal Fair Housing Act Amendments, and Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws.

According to court documents, she alleged that during her senior year, her roommate engaged in online and actual sex right in front of her. According to the suit, the roommate "would have sex with her boyfriend while [Lindsay] was trying to sleep just a few feet away," and would also "engage in sexually inappropriate video chatting" while Blankmeyer was in the room.

Stonehill College told ABC News that it "responded swiftly and professionally to the concerns of the student in this case, seeking to help resolve the matter."

"The issues between the student and her roommate were first attempted to be resolved through mediation with a residence director," Stonehill spokeswoman Kristen Magda Magda wrote. "The student was then presented with multiple options for housing on campus, including a private room. The college also made special arrangements for the student to complete her degree while living at home. At no time did the student notify college staff that her concerns involved sexual activity by her roommate."

However, Blankmeyer alleged in her lawsuit that that the resident director "did nothing to alleviate the problem," and that her mental health began to deteriorate as a result.

Before a scheduled group mediation, Blankmeyer alleged that the roommate "grabbed Lindsay while she was sleeping and began shaking her and yelling at her. Lindsay was terrified and pretended to remain asleep," according to court documents.

Blankmeyer already suffered from previous diagnoses of depression and attention deficit disorder, for which Stonehill had agreed to grant her extra time on exams and papers. She was, however, briefly hospitalized during her freshman year, according to the lawsuit.

When Blankmeyer's parents and psychiatrist "all asked if Lindsay could have a single room ... Stonehill refused Lindsay's request ... and in following weeks and months Lindsay fell into a dark and suicidal depression requiring her to take a leave of absence from school and undergo extensive psychiatric and medical treatment," according to court documents.

Blankmeyer said the college offered her two unattractive options: She could move to a different dorm that had a hard-partying reputation and room with a girl she didn't know, or she could move to a "small cubicle-like space" that was previously used as a study lounge.

The lawsuit alleged that Blankmeyer eventually moved to a hotel room, and became so depressed that she completed her bachelor of arts degree from home in New York in September 2011.

A call to one of Blankmeyer's attorneys, John Tocci of the Boston law firm Tocci, Goss & Lee, was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio