Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days in jail

May 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM
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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., May 21 (UPI) -- Dharun Ravi was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail by a New Jersey judge who said he "acted out of colossal insensitivity" toward ex-roommate Tyler Clementi.

Ravi, guilty of spying on Clementi, his gay college roommate, with a webcam, was convicted by a jury March 16 of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with evidence, witness tampering and hindering apprehension or prosecution.

Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey Sept. 22, 2010, days after the spying.

Ravi, now 20, chose not to address the court.

Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman noted he had never heard Ravi apologize, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

"This individual was not convicted of a hate crime. He was convicted of a bias crime and there's a difference," Berman said. "I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi. He had no reason to. But I do believe that he acted out of colossal insensitivity."

The judge also sentenced Ravi to 300 hours' community service, gave him three years' probation and ordered him to contribute $10,000 to a state-licensed, community-based organization that helps victims of bias crimes.

Berman said he'd recommend Ravi, a native of India who has lived in this country most of his life, not be deported.

Prosecutors said they would appeal.

Before sentencing, Tyler Clementi's mother, Jane Clementi, said in a prepared statement Ravi's actions were "evil and malicious."

"What I want is justice," she said. "The court needs to show … this was not right and it was not acceptable behavior and it will not be tolerated."

Ravi's mother, Sabitha Ravi, said her son had been "absolutely devastated" and "broken into pieces" in the past 20 months and "the media was ripping him apart with their misleading facts and wrongful statements of the prominent people."

She called her son "kind-hearted and loving" and said he "doesn't have any hatred in his heart towards anybody."

Some U.S. gay-rights advocates said before sentencing Ravi deserved probation, not jail time.

Ravi set up a webcam to spy on Clementi, 18, Sept. 19, 2010, three weeks into their freshman year at Rutgers University, after Clementi asked to have the room alone so he could be with a man he had recently met on a Web site for gay men.

Ravi -- an economics student who was proficient in the use of computers -- told friends and Twitter followers afterward he saw his roommate "making out with a dude," evidence prosecutors showed in court indicated, and urged them to watch a planned second tryst between Clementi and his friend that Ravi said he would stream from his webcam Sept. 21.

Clementi's Sept. 22 suicide prompted an outcry from celebrities and politicians and brought national and international attention to the issue of cyberbullying and the struggles facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

It also prompted New Jersey to pass one of the nation's strictest anti-bullying laws.

Ravi, who was never charged in Clementi's death, faced a maximum 10 years in prison.

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