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Hate crime: Dharun Ravi gets 30 days jail term for webcam spying

Ravi is also hit with 3 years probation,300 hours of community service,$10,000 fine.

Indian American student Dharun Ravi was on Monday sentenced to 30 days in jail by a US judge on hate crime charges for using a webcam to spy on a homosexual roommate who later committed suicide,terming his behavior “cold,calculated and methodically conceived”.

Ravi was also hit with three years probation,300 hours of community service,a $10,000 fine and counseling on cyber bullying and “alternate lifestyles”.

Judge Glenn Berman at Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick,New Jersey pronounced the sentence against the 20-year-old former Rutgers University student for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy charges for the 2010 episode involving his roommate Tyler Clementi.

The case generated a heated nationwide debate on cyber bullying and treatment of gays and lesbians.

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Ravi had faced a maximum of 10 years behind bars for his conviction.

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 apologise once,” Berman told Ravi,who made no statement.

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Ravi will begin his sentence on May 31,a media report said.

Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi’s death. He also faced possible deportation,but the judge said he would not recommend so.

Ravi was convicted in March of 15 charges including invasion of privacy,bias intimidation and evidence tampering for spying on his roommate,Clementi,18,with a webcam while he was with another man. Days later,Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

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Earlier,the judge denied the defence’s motion for acquittal and a new trial today.

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

The father of Tyler Clementi told a judge 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.

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

The case has polarised 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.

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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.

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Before the sentencing,the judge noted that the court had received boxes of petitions asking President Barack Obama to pardon Ravi.

“I hope these people understand that the petition sent to the White House is of no legal consequence whatsoever,” Judge Glenn Berman said.

Rightly or wrongly,the President of the United States only has the right to pardon people for offenses committed against the United States.

First published on: 22-05-2012 at 11:39 IST
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