Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days over filming roommate’s gay kiss

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A US student who was convicted of using a webcam to secretly film his room-mate sharing a gay kiss, who eventually committed suicide, has been sentenced to 30 days in prison.

Tyler Clementi, a student from Rutgers University, New Jersey, jumped from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, allegedly after Mr Dharun Ravi filmed him kissing an older man, and streamed it on the internet. Mr Ravi was charged and found guilty on all 15 counts, including bias intimidation, tampering evidence and hindering apprehension.

Judge Glenn Berman, in sentencing Mr Ravi at a court in New Brunswick, New Jersey, recommended that the Indian-born student should not be deported to his native country. This was because the man with whom Mr Clementi was filmed, identified only as “MB” during the trial, had written to the courts asking that Mr Ravi not be deported.

Mr Berman added that he had not heard Mr Ravi apologise once for his behaviour, and that Mr Clementi’s own words, “wildly inappropriate,” best described his actions. Although Mr Ravi did not act out of hatred for his room-mate, the sentencing read, he had been guilty of “colossal insensitivity.”

Both Mr Clementi’s family and Mr Ravi’s family, and their respective lawyers, made statements before the sentencing. Mr Clementi’s father said that the impact of Mr Ravi’s actions had been ‘severe, shocking, and lasting.’ A tearful Mrs Clementi said that despite being close to her son, she had no idea of the ‘despair and torment Tyler must have been feeling.’

Steven Altman, Mr Ravi’s lawyer, said his client had been ‘demonised by the gay community’ and that the case was ‘treated as if it’s a murder [trial].’

In addition to the jail term, the defendant will serve a three-year probationary period, and 300 hours of community service. He is also ordered to pay $10,000 to a state-licensed community organisation that helps victims of crimes due to prejudice, and complete a training programme on cyber-bullying and ‘alternative lifestyles.’