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Ex-Rutgers Student Dharun Ravi Gets 30-Day Jail Term, Probation

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office says the 30-day sentence given to a former Rutgers student who was convicted of invasion of privacy and a hate crime for using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate is "insufficient" and plans on appealing the sentence.

Dharun Ravi was sentenced to serve a 30-day jail term as part of a probationary sentence.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said his office didn't request the maximum length of incarceration — 10 years — but "it was expected that his conviction on multiple offenses of invading the privacy of two victims on two separate occasions, four counts of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, and the coverup of those crimes, would warrant more than a 30-day jail term."

Supreme Court Judge Glenn Berman called Ravi's behavior "cold, calculated and methodically conceived." He said he did not believe Ravi hated roommate Tyler Clementi, but believed he acted "out of colossal insensitivity."

“I haven’t heard you apologize once,” Berman told Ravi, who made no statement as he faced a decade or more in jail.

Ravi will begin his sentence on May 31. But prosecutors have 10 days to appeal. He will also serve three years probation, complete 300 hours of community service and attend a counseling program.

Ravi's mother broke down sobbing after she pleaded for leniency in her son's sentencing.

The father of Tyler Clementi told a judge Monday that the former Rutgers student who was convicted earlier this year of bias intimidation for using a webcam to spy on his Clementi, deserves punishment.

Clementi, choking up, said Ravi saw his son as not deserving basic human decency that he saw him as below him because he was gay.

He says Ravi "still does not get it" and has no remorse. He said Ravi engaged in "cold-hearted" deception. Clementi's brother, James, also took the stand.

"I cannot imagine the level of disdain and rejection he felt from his peers," he said.

David Rogoff, president of the Pride Center in New Jersey, an LGBT community center located in Highland Park, N.J., said he didn't think the sentence was harsh enough.

“I think the most damning thing I can say about Dharun Ravi he said in his own words. In an interview after the verdict, he said, ‘I wasn't thinking about Tyler.’ There’s no empathy.  There’s no remorse.”

Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, a national organization that advocates on behalf of LGBT students on college campuses said, “I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied with any about this trial.  I’m not excited or pleased with the sentencing, whether it be three years, five years, 10 years. Tyler Clementi is still gone."

But Windmeyer added his organization’s focus is to educate college campuses on how to create safe spaces. “There were many bystanders,” he said of the case. “The college was a bystander, the other students.  At the end of the day all colleges need to teach students not to be bystanders.”

Members of the local Indian continue to show their support for Dharun Ravi and his family.  The's sentencing proceedings spilled over into two courtrooms at the Middlesex County Courthouse.

Pradip "Peter" Kothari was among those there to back the family. He says the judge has a very positive attitude towards Ravi.

"And we are happy about it," he said. "Nobody likes the jail time of even one day. But we have to take accept some of the guilt and go on with the life."

Dharun Ravi was convicted in March of 15 charges including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and evidence tampering for spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, with a webcam while he was with another man. Days later, Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

The judge denied the defense's motion for acquittal and a new trial on Monday.

The case has polarized opinion across the country about whether hate crime statutes should be used for non-violent crimes and whether Ravi is being scapegoated for a wave of bullying cases against gay teenagers.

Ravi continues to say he didn’t remotely turn on his webcam with the intention of seeing his roommate have sex with another man, and that he didn’t care that Clementi was gay.

But the jury said it was swayed by Ravi’s tweets.

“Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay,” he tweeted.

Two days later: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

Lawyers for both sides plan to appeal the sentence.  The judge issued a 10 day stay delaying the start of Ravi's sentence.

With the Associated Press

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Comments [17]

kevin from upper LS

there should never should have been a trial to begin with. this is about our inability as a society, to accept other lifestyles. we should not, scapegoat this young man,in order to not have to look at ourselves. this would have set a very dangerous precedent,to in effect, convict someone, of what is virtually[pun intended],little more than a thought crime.

May. 22 2012 02:30 AM
Josh from Coloroado

I am an Indian American & a lawyer. This Kid should be glad he did not get the 10 years, or 5 or even 1 year. I am appalled by the callousness of the family. He should have apologized in open court instead of having his mother simpering on about their American Dream being shattered. No where did I hear (other than a sentence) about the sympathy for the victim nor his family. I heard a callous selfish mother going on about how her son is suffering & how is life is shattered!!!!. Lets be clear this kid had a chance...the prosecutors offered probation if he had just pleaded it out saying he was guilty from an error of judgement couched in youthful stupidity. Instead with his defense counsel they chose another path. SO I ask why why all these insincere ramblings by the mother & father.
Let this kid do his time and initiate removal proceedings. Which by the way have a 10 year bar from ever entering the USA

May. 21 2012 11:53 PM
Vanessa from South Orange, New Jersey

Enough..tooo much put in this..legal stuff is stupid..the judge gave his final words..what's next..I do think that Clemente really was dealing with other issues..and this pushed him over the edge....both families need prayer.

May. 21 2012 07:15 PM
Spring Brucesteen from Newest of Jerseys

Why is this a crime? You've got to be kidding! Clementi's privacy was invaded. Isn't that enough? Blaming his family is reprehensible. It makes no more sense than blaming Ravi's family for their little angel's devilish behavior.

Oh, right, it's just stupid college kids being stupid! Yuk yuk! Maybe the next time some entitled little creep turns on a web cam, he or she will think twice.

30 days is a sick joke and an insult to the Clementi family.

May. 21 2012 06:01 PM

This was not a proper case for the criminal courts. Honestly, a young gay man killed himself because he was "outed." Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, but the reason is because of the intolerance of society, not because a stupid classmate outed him. This young man was stupid, but his behavior never should have ended up in the criminal courts.

As far as apologizing, I'm guessing he followed his attorney's instructions in that regard. Attorneys often tell their clients to keep their mouths shut, for legal and technical reasons. I don't hold this against the young man.

I assume this young man is stupid and bigoted against gays. But those defects are not sufficient to invoke criminal punishment. Honestly, if being a stupid sexually-obsessed young man was grounds for imprisonment, they would all be in prison. Tacky, crude, yes. Criminal: not even close. What a complete waste of resources. A stupid college kid is prosecuted, but the Wall Street criminals walk free.

I'm very sorry for the young student who committed suicide. But the only way to try to stop that is by actively supporting gay rights. That means parents need to love and accept their gay children, and need to teach their straight children that intolerance is not acceptable.

May. 21 2012 04:34 PM
Mark

“Mom has basically completely rejected me,” Tyler Clementi wrote to a friend shortly after he revealed his homosexuality, according to court documents.

Maybe his own family should take some responsibility for his suicide instead of trying to blame others? Their hypocrisy is disgusting.

May. 21 2012 04:08 PM
Dan from New York

What I find truly offensive about this case is that it is only considered a crime because the victim was gay.
If this had been heterosexual young girl in college or for that matter young heterosexual male and roomates though it would be cute posting them having sex on the web it would be equally offensive. Would this not be something that society wants punished?
This is a terrible crime and he should have been given the maximum sentence. When it happens again, the perpetrator will expect a 30 day sentence. There will probable be some more suicieds and/or ruined lifes because of this.

May. 21 2012 02:49 PM
Andrew from Manhattan, New York

WHERE IS THE MODERATOR. There is OFFENSIVE language happening...

May. 21 2012 02:32 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

Some really offensive comments being posted.

Where is the moderator!?

May. 21 2012 02:16 PM
Antonia Gilligan from Emerson, NJ

30 days for witness tampering, evidence tampering, invasion of privacy,lying under oath and a total lack of remorse followed by more lying on national TV. Surprise, he gets 30 days! The trail took longer. I am sad that some Indians have been physically attacked and some stores vandalized. Vandals may be just stupid kids and not radical homophobes or racists. Yes, on the surface, I understand that feeling of protecting my ethnic group but witness tampering, no remorse and repeatedly lying. Mr. Ravi should get far more than 30 days and not let off. One wrong does not require a second wrong to correct it. A 30 day sentence is wrong.

So because of one stupid, prejudiced, liar and now convicted felon, we have one dead man, who seems to have been gentle and above board. We are delivering another injustice...These crimes normally get jail terms of 2-5 years. Why concurrently? Why not consecutively?

Do we want a convicted felon as an American citizen? I don't. We should start petitioning Homeland Security and ICE to deport him once his sentence is served. Perhaps the Obama administration could do a public service by removing this piece of human offal from America.

I guess, I should have known better after the murders of Bradan Tenia got sentences of a few years and are now free. The lives of faggots, dykes and TS's are not valued in this system of "justice".

The judge needs some serious negative feedback, when his term comes up. How do we know if the judge has issues with the gay community? 30 days...Really! This may be a case when we can start convincing the "powers that be" that as a community, gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities will fight back. Who is willing to start donating some money to correct this judicial folly? I am for sure and let's start picketing
So I can't be safe in my own home any longer and nor could Mr. Clementi.

30 days, my God! That sentence is for traffic violations not what Mr. Ravi did.

Antonia Gilligan

May. 21 2012 01:48 PM
cal680

Yep - another rich kid gets away with it. We must learn people - you DO NOT screw with the rich. They are above and beyond the law - no matter what they do. I am surprised he got 30 days probation - figured the judge would give him a party.

May. 21 2012 01:31 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

Wow, he didn't even apologize during the trial?

And Mark, if you think Sinha got no justice then advocate for it. Don't use one alleged wrong to justify another. Don't race to the bottom.

May. 21 2012 01:28 PM
Josie from NYC

How can WNYC allow this kind of commenting?! This is civility?! On topic?

T. Raymond; enjoy obsessing over other people's sexuality for the rest of your meaningless, miserable life and please STAY in Atlanta, GA until you gasp your last putrid breath.

May. 21 2012 01:26 PM

Here, here Kierstin.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments and I'm sorry for your loss.

May. 21 2012 01:24 PM

it saddens me to have to flag posts on both sides of this- even here on WNYC, I had hoped this would be a safe place to get the news. As a friend of the Clementi's and having an indian sister-in-law I was searching for a safe news forum- guess there really aren't any. Miss you Tyler- Good's speed Ravi.

May. 21 2012 01:08 PM

Comments like the one from T.Raymond are patently offensive and un-American.

Whether or not you agree with someone for who they are or what they say, we should all agree that fellow Americans, let alone humans, have a basic right to LIFE. Bigots or trolls have no place in civil discussions or society.

May. 21 2012 01:06 PM
jg from TX

Such a grave injustice. I'm disappointed that he wasn't at the very least deported. Plus, stupid comments by biggots really chaps my hide. Why would Tyler be resting in hell? I think all the intoleratant, judgemental people will be in hell for not living life as they shouldn't Weren't we told to love each other?

May. 21 2012 01:05 PM

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