Former Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi received a 15-count indictment on Wednesday, April 20, from a Middlesex County grand jury for "invasion of privacy, witness and evidence tampering, and other charges stemming from the suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi in September," AP reports. Clementi posted a farewell note on his Facebook page then jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River after discovering that Ravi and another student used a webcam to live stream Clementi being intimate with another man.
Ironically, the indictments come down the day after a major study by Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Columbia University psychologist and researcher, on suicide attempts by gay teens appeared in the journal Pediatrics. The study looked at nearly 32,000 high school students in the state of Oregon and found 1,584 total suicide attempts - 304 of those among gays, lesbians and bisexuals - among teens who self-reported suicide attempts in the previous year. The report also found that "[s]uicide attempts by gay teens - and even straight kids - are more common in politically conservative areas where schools don't have programs supporting gay rights," AP reported. "Roughly 20 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual teens said they had made an attempt, versus 4 percent of straight kids."
Meanwhile, Garden State Equality, which has been the lead sponsor behind New Jersey's new anti-bullying law, issued this press release about the Ravi indictment:
Garden State Equality commends Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan and the grand jury for its 15-count indictment of Dharun Ravi. Without question, the indictment is in the best interests of justice and in the best interests of students across New Jersey, for their potential bullies will now think harder before demolishing another student's life.
As Garden State Equality has said all along, Mr. Ravi's grotesque violation of Tyler Clementi's invasion of privacy, based on Mr. Ravi's perception of Tyler's sexual orientation, presents the clearest-cut violation of New Jersey law. You could not ask for a clearer case.
To those who say that Mr. Ravi's conduct was merely a prank that students are apt to pull - and that somehow he should not receive a tough sentence - we say that's nonsense. That heinous philosophy has tragically done so much to create a bullying epidemic in our state and nation in the first place.
Today's indictment, when combined with the recently enacted anti-bullying law which Garden State Equality steered to enactment - widely considered the strongest anti-bullying law in the country - will have an appropriate chilling effect on bullies everywhere.
We continue to mourn the loss of Tyler Clementi deeply. Today is a day of justice.
Here's an ABC News video to remind you of who Tyler Clementi was: