Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student, was convicted Friday on all 15 counts, including hate crimes and invasion of privacy, for using a web-cam to spy on his college roommate, Tyler Clementi. Ravi, who will be sentenced May 21, could face up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to his native India, according to reports.
The case garnered national attention in 2010 after Clementi, 18, threw himself off the George Washington Bridge shortly after discovering Ravi had captured him engaged in an intimate encounter with another man. Six students are believed to have seen the live video of the kissing.
The 20-year-old reportedly showed little emotion as the Middlesex County, N.J. jury read the conviction. While the jury acquitted Ravi on several parts of the bias intimidation charges, the ex-Rutgers student was found guilty for the spying incidents on Sept. 19 and Sept. 21, 2010, as well as witness and evidence tampering—deleting or changing text messages and tweets—hindering apprehension and attempted bias intimidation, among other charges. He is not charged in connection with Clementi’s death.
Ravi decided not to testify in his own defense.
As an Indian citizen in the US on a green card, Ravi could be deported after sentencing. Until his sentencing date (and only after surrendering his passport), he remains free on $25,000 bail.
The incident ignited reactions beyond the Rutgers campus community and national campaigns on cyber-bullying and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer rights, headed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD) increased in the months following the incident. Also, New Jersey lawmakers passed an anti-bullying law. After the incident, the university altered its housing policies to allow opposite-sex roomates–an effort to make housing conditions more LGBTQ-friendly.
Rutgers University issued this statement after the verdict:
“This tragedy, which will forever affect the lives of the families involved, deeply touched the Rutgers community and the world. Freedom of expression, tolerance, the right to personal privacy and the open discussion of ideas are integral parts of any university community. 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.”