Roommate Sentenced in Webcam Spying Case
NEW JERSEY — A New Jersey judge on Monday sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail for spying on and intimidating his Rutgers University roommate, Tyler Clementi, who then killed himself by jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge in September 2010.
Ravi will be on probation for three years. He also received three years probation, 300 hours of community service, a $10,000 fine and counseling of cyber bullying and alternate lifestyles.
Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman killed himself. Clementi jumped off the bridge after learning that Ravi had secretly spied on Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man using a webcam, and shared the video with others through social media.
Prior to sentencing, the Clementi family spoke to the court, painting a picture of Tyler’s last days.
“He could never have known the viper’s nest he was walking into. Nor could anyone in my family imagine a situation so horrible and cruel that he would need to be protected from. With Ravi as his roommate, my brother never stood a chance of having a happy and comfortable first semester in college,” said James Clementi.
Prosecutors said that Ravi tried to embarrass Clementi because he was gay.
“These acts were purposeful, they were intentional, and they were planned,” prosecutor Julia L. McClure told the jury on the first day of the trial.
In Twitter messages from that day, Ravi wrote that he’d gone into a friend’s room, “turned on my webcam” and saw his roommate “making out with a dude.”
Ravi’s attorneys have argued that their client acted thoughtlessly, portraying him as an immature college student who made a mistake, and that his actions were not based on homophobia.
Ravi faced the possibility of deportation to his native India, but the judge did not recommend it.
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