A New Jersey judge sentenced 20-year-old former Rutgers University student, Dharun Ravi, to just 30 days in prison for his role in a webcam invasion of privacy incident which resulted in the suicide of fellow student Tyler Clementi. Ravi faced up to 10 years in prison.
The judge saved Ravi from deportation to his native India and rejected two plea deals which would have added additional prison time.
Ravi shed tears as his mother read a statement during the hearing, saying he was “broken into pieces” by Clementi’s death in 2010. The judge admonished Ravi for his handling of his cause of Clementi’s suicide by tampering with evidence as investigators searched for Clementi’s suicidal motive.
Prosecutors will appeal a 30-day jail sentence handed down Monday against Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student convicted of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate, who then killed himself by jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said Ravi’s crimes warranted “more than a 30-day jail term” and called Superior Judge Glenn Berman’s sentence “insufficient under the sentencing laws of this state, the facts that were determined by a jury, and long-standing appellate precedent.”
Under the sentence, Ravi will serve three years of probation and must complete 300 hours of community service aimed at assisting victims of bias crimes, according to Superior Judge Glenn Berman. He also must pay more than $11,000 in restitution.
Berman stayed the jail sentence for 10 days pending expected appeals from both the prosecution and the defense.
The September 2010 death of Tyler Clementi, and Ravi’s trial this year, thrust the issue of cyberbullying and prejudices against homosexuals into the national spotlight.
Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman, plunged to his death in the Hudson River after learning that Ravi had secretly spied via a webcam as Clementi kissed another man.
“I haven’t heard you apologize once,” Berman told Ravi, 20. He said Clementi “placed his trust in you without any conditions, and you violated it.”
Ravi, he said, acted out of “colossal insensitivity.”
Berman said he took factors including Ravi’s youth and his lack of a criminal record into consideration.
Ravi could have faced 10 years in prison and deportation to his native India.
In his remarks, the judge told Ravi the only reason he did not recommend deportation was because the man involved in the videotaped encounter, identified in court only as “M.B.,” said in his victim impact statement he did not believe Ravi should be deported — and would be willing to write a letter to that effect.
In the months that followed Clementi’s death, President Barack Obama released a videotaped message condemning bullying, while New Jersey legislators enacted stricter laws to protect against it in schools.
Ravi’s sentencing hearing stretched to nearly four hours Monday and was punctuated by emotional victim impact statements offered by Clementi’s parents and brother.
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