Dharun Ravi says he did something a lot of college kids do: He unthinkingly pranked an awkward, less-cool roommate. But that prank was spying on a homosexual hookup via webcam, that roommate was Tyler Clementi, and Ravi has a hate-crime conviction to show for what he says was a moment of teenage stupidity. Ravi sits down with the Star-Ledger to give his side of the story in a surprisingly sympathetic interview. Highlights:
- On what he was thinking: "I wasn’t. I got caught up in what I thought was funny, and my own ego. I never really thought about what it would mean to Tyler. I know that’s wrong, but that’s the truth."
- On not taking a plea deal: "I’m never going to regret not taking the plea. I would have had to testify that I did what I did to intimidate Tyler and that would be a lie. I won’t ever get up there and tell the world I hated Tyler because he was gay, or tell the world I was trying to hurt or intimidate him because it’s not true."
- On Clementi asking for their room a second time in three days: "I remember thinking, if this is going to be every other day, it’s going to be a problem. But I didn’t want to confront him because it was already difficult to talk to him."
- On not liking the 30-year-old guy Clementi was hooking up with: "If it was a girl who came to the room and she looked as strange as MB, I would have done the same thing."
- On Clementi discovering the "prank" and asking for a room change: "I texted an apology and when he didn’t answer, I emailed him. I told him I didn’t want him to feel pressure to have to move and that we could work things out."
- On the last time Clementi came in the room: "He seemed completely normal. We didn’t say much, and then he was gone."
- On being told Clementi was missing: "I thought it was something sinister, that maybe he got mixed up with the wrong guy. I told one of my friends, ‘I wish I recorded (the first incident, on Sept. 19) so I would have an image of the guy (MB) to give to the police."
- On Clementi's death: "I'm very sorry about Tyler. I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn’t hate Tyler and I knew he was OK with me."
Click for the full interview
. (Read more Dharun Ravi