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Dharun Ravi, ex-Rutgers student, convicted in webcam spying case

March 16, 2012 12:06:11 AM PDT
A former Rutgers University student has been convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life. The victim in the case committed suicide.

Jurors deliberated for about 11 hours before returning with the guilty verdicts on all 15 counts of invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation. Dharun Ravi, 20, shook his head slightly after the verdicts were read.

His former roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010, after his intimate encounter with another man was streamed over the Internet. About a half-dozen students were believed to have seen the live video.

Ravi's lawyer tried to convince the jury that the college freshman was not motivated by any malice toward gays, and that he had initially set up the camera because he was afraid that Clementi's older, "sketchy"-looking visitor might steal his belongings.

But the jury didn't buy it. Ravi was found not guilty on some subparts of some of the charges, but guilty of all 15 counts as a whole.

Outside the courthouse, Clementi's father Joe said, "You're going to meet a lot of people in your life. Some of these people you may not like. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean you have to work against them."

Ravi will likely get 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 21, according to legal experts. He could also be deported to his native India, although he lived legally in the U.S. since he was a little boy.

Before the trial, Ravi and his lawyers had rejected a plea bargain that would have spared him from prison. He would have gotten probation and community service and would have been given help in avoiding deportation.

Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi's death, and the suicide remained largely in the background at the trial, though some witnesses mentioned it and the jury was told Clementi had taken his life.

"This sad incident should make us all pause to recognize the importance of civility and mutual respect in the way we live, work and communicate with others," Rutgers said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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