Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi has spoken out for the first time since being convicted on charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy, and suggests that he is being used as a scapegoat for Tyler Clementi's tragic suicide.
"I understand why people feel the need to punish me. Bad stuff happens and they need to set an example, but it's unfortunate this has to be the case where this happens," Ravi said in an interview with ABC's 20/20.
"I don't hate gay people! ... Looking back, I was very self-absorbed with the whole thing. It was never, 'What if Tyler finds out, how's he going to feel about it? I was 18, I was stupid, I wouldn't think about my actions beyond a minute into a future. I was a dumb kid not thinking about it," he added.
The 20-year-old Indian native faces the prospect of being jailed for up to 10 years and being deported during his May 21 sentencing. A N.J. jury convicted him of a hate crime for invading his former roommate's privacy; he used his webcam to see Clementi's private homosexual activities.
Ravi had seen Clementi being intimate with another male known only as "M.B" in court documents via a webcam in their shared dorm room. He then sent out tweets to his Twitter followers telling them what he had seen and encouraged them to webchat him to see for themselves just two days later.
Clementi eventually found out and later updated his Facebook status to "jumping off the gw bridge sorry" just four minutes before Ravi sent him a long text apologizing. It is unclear whether Clementi ever read the apology before jumping to his death.
"Even though I wasn't the one who caused him to jump off the bridge, I did do things wrong and I was stupid about a lot of stuff. The more and more I found out, it would be kind of obnoxious of me to think that I could have this profound effect on him," Ravi said.
"After all this time and reading his conversations and how and what he was doing before, I really don't think he cared at all. I feel like I was an insignificant part to his life. That's giving me comfort now," he added.
Clementi, who was openly homosexual, had reportedly left a suicide note, which was never made public.
"The fact that we weren't allowed to read it, that they said it didn't have anything to do with this, that gave me comfort also because I figured if it has nothing to do with me … it must have been something else that was going on. He didn't even care about this … He had bigger problems in his life," Ravi said.
The full interview will air on ABC's "20/20" on Friday at 10 p.m. ET.