NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey – The former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man has turned down a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and sought to prevent his deportation to India.
The alleged spying happened in 2010, days before the roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself, starting a national discussion about the bullying that young gays can face.
Dharun Ravi’s reason for turning down the plea deal was simple, said his lawyer, Steven Altman.
“He’s innocent. He’s not guilty,” he said after the court hearing. “That’s why he rejected the plea.”
Altman told a judge Friday that his client would proceed to trial, set for Feb. 21.
The judge said the state offered a deal with no prison time that would include community service, probation and counseling. Altman said the state agreed to help Ravi if federal authorities sought to deport him.
Ravi is in the U.S. legally, but is a citizen of India.
Ravi, 19, is not charged in connection with Clementi’s death. He has pleaded not guilty to 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.
It’s not clear what the charges were under the plea agreement.