“Colossal insensitivity”- Student sentenced to 30 days in jail for spying on gay roommate

by Lekan Olanrewaju

A former student of Rutgers University, New Jersey has been convicted of bias crimes for spying on his gay roommate and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Dharun Ravi had faced a maximum of 10 years in prison for spying on his gay roommate with a webcam while he had sex with another man in the room they shared in September 2010, and streaming the clip online. He is also still at risk of being deported for his conviction of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

The case has been the subject of much controversy as his room-mate, Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the Washington Bridge a few days after he found out about what Ravi had done.

“You lied to your roommate who placed his trust in you without any conditions, and you violated it,” said Judge Glenn Berman of State Superior Court. “I haven’t heard you apologize once.”

The judge’s sentiment was echoed by the brother of the deceased, James Clementi who said, “Dharun never bothered to care about the harm he was doing to my brother’s heart and mind. My family has never heard an apology, an acknowledgment of any wrongdoing.”

“I cannot imagine the level of rejection, isolation and disdain he must have felt from his peers,” Clementi continued.

Ravi’s mother, however, gave a tearful statement stating that her son was only a victim of twisted tales by the media. “The media misconstrued the facts to the public and misconceptions were formed,” she said. “All I could do was hug him and cry.”

Ravi’s lawyer also stated that he believed he was being “demonized by the gay community”. “This case is contrived, is being treated and exists today as if it’s a murder case,” his lawyer submitted.

The judge, who stated that he believed Ravi acted out of “colossal insensitivity”, however, advised that he not be deported. “This individual was not convicted of a hate crime, he was convicted of a bias crime, and there’s a difference,” the judge said. “I say that because I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi. He had no reason to.”


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