Tyler Clementi's family sat down for their first TV interview with Rock Center last night, and they believe that if Dharun Ravi had never set up that webcam, Tyler would be alive today. James Clementi, Tyler's brother, said the webcam was the "the straw that broke the camel’s back and the thing that pushed him to the breaking point."
In September 2010, Ravi had set up a webcam in the Rutgers dorm room he shared with Clementi and viewed Clementi and Clementi's guest during intimate encounters, and shared a link (unsuccessfully) to view the livestream via Twitter. Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge the day after the second time he was filmed.
The Clementis also discussed how Tyler had recently come out to his parents, who are evangelical Christians. Mother Jane Clementi said it had been hard for them to accept it (she doesn't think she rejected him), but now they realize they should have embraced it. Joseph Clementi, her husband, said, "Sin needs to be taken out of homosexuality... Our children need to understand — and adults need to understand — that they're not ... broken... I think people who draw that sharp line" about homosexuality "they will understand that line is grey at best and maybe there's no line at all."
While prosecutors have portrayed Ravi as homophobic, his lawyer and the witnesses speaking on his behalf said he was not homophobic, instead claiming he was simply acting immaturely. But jurors agreed with prosecutors, finding that Ravi invaded Clementi's and his guest's privacy twice and meant to intimidate Clementi when he spied a second time. However, a judge sentenced Ravi to just 30 days in jail (and 300 hours of community service); Ravi served just 20 days.
Jane Clementi said that the sentence was, in her mind, a signal to prosecutors that these cases don't matter, "This isn’t worthwhile. There are no consequences for these crimes," and feels that Ravi outed their son through the Twitter messages and spying. James Clementi admitted that he thought his brother was depressed, but the spying took a toll. And Jane Clementi said she believed her son was devastated, "I think it was humiliation that his roommates and his dormmates were watching a very intimate act,