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Former Rutgers student rejects no-jail deal in secret taping case

By George Anastasia, The Philadelphia Inquirer

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A former Rutgers University student charged with invading the privacy of his roommate by secretly taping him in an intimate encounter with another man rejected on Friday a plea bargain that would have guaranteed no jail time.

The offer to Dahrun Ravi, 19, included probation, 600 hours of community service and counseling.

Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman set the trial for late February.

Outside court, Ravi’s lawyer Steven Altman said, “The reason he rejected the plea is a simple principle of law, a simple principle of life: He’s not guilty.”

Altman said he would not comment further.

The rejection of the plea deal marks another turn in a case that attracted international attention and became the focal point for discussion and debate about cyberbullying after Ravi’s roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after learning that his sexual encounter had been picked up on a webcam planted in their dorm room by Ravi.

Ravi, of Plainsboro, N.J., denied any malicious intent and, his lawyers said, had sent an email apologizing to Clementi.

The email was sent about the same time authorities believe Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010.

Clementi’s parents were in court Friday when Ravi turned down the deal. They declined comment after the hearing, but have said in the past they did not think Ravi should go to jail for his alleged actions.

©2011 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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