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Indian-origin arraigned in sex video suicide case

Indian-origin student Dharun Ravi, who has been indicted on charges of bias and invasion of privacy for secretly filming and posting online a sexual encounter between his male roommate and another man, appeared in a US court for the first time to answer criminal charges. Ravi, a student of Rutgers University shared a room with 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. But three days later Clementi committed suicide by jumping off from George Washington Bridge in New York in September after his video was posted online, prompting a national outcry.

Looking somber in a dark gray suit, 19-year-old Ravi made a quick and wordless appearance in the New Jersey court yesterday, not even speaking to plead not guilty to the 15 counts, the New York Times reported. Ravi’s lawyer Steven D Altman did the talking and the two left without speaking to reporters. Ravi remains free on a USD 25,000 bond he had posted. Last month, New Jersey grand jury handed out a 15-count indictment against him, charging him with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence and hindering prosecution. If convicted of the most serious bias charge, Ravi could face five to 10 years in prison.

Meanwhile, co-defendant Molly Wei made a deal with prosecutors this month to have the charges against her dismissed if she performs 300 days of community service as well as speaks honestly at Ravi’s trial. The next appearance is scheduled for July 25. The NYT reported that Clementi’s mother and father sat silently at the back of the courtroom. “We are eager for the criminal justice process to unfold,” said Joseph Clementi, Tyler’s father.

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