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Experts: Ravi media tour carries risks

March 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM   |   Comments

NEWARK, N.J., March 23 (UPI) -- A media tour by Dharun Ravi, convicted of bias intimidation for recording his male college roommate kissing another man, is a risky venture, experts said.

The former Rutgers University student was convicted March 16 of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate, who subsequently killed himself. Ravi could receive a prison term of up to10 years for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy when he is sentenced in May.

Ravi, 20, has begun taking his case to the public and has accepted media requests for interviews. Legal and media experts say such a move may garner support but the media tour also carries risks, The (Bergin, N.J.) Record reported Friday.

"There is a lot of risk of backfiring," said Louis Raveson, a professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark. "It depends both on the content of what he says and how he comes across."

In two interviews, Ravi has maintained his innocence while expressing remorse and disavowing any direct responsibility for Tyler Clementi's suicide. Ravi said he "wasn't thinking" at the time.

Ravi and a female friend, also a Rutgers student, watched from her dorm room as Clementi and another man embraced, although they did not see them engage in sex. Ravi told friends about what he saw via Twitter, instant messaging and text messages.

Ravi said his actions weren't motivated by anti-gay sentiment.

"There are two different courts, the court of law and the court of public opinion" and authenticity is crucial in both arenas, Mike Paul, a media expert in New York, told The Record.

Paul said Ravi should be sincere and speak more about how he will work to improve himself and his community.

"My biggest piece of advice is ... to have a repentant heart," Paul said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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