A New Jersey jury found Dharun Ravi guilty of invading former Rutgers University roommate Tyler Clementi’s privacy and of bias intimidation because Clementi was gay. While he was exonerated on some of the bias-intimidation charges, he faces 10 years in prison and possible deportation to his native India.
He will be sentenced May 21.
Ravi was found guilty of four invasion-of-privacy and four attempted invasion-of-privacy charges, the most serious he faced. He used his webcam to spy on Clementi and a male guest Sept. 19, 2010, invited others to watch their encounter and attempted to spy again two days later. The following day, Clementi committed suicide.
The jury convicted Ravi of second-, third- and fourth-degree bias-intimidation regarding the Sept. 21 incident.
However, he was acquitted on most of the bias charges from the initial webcam incident and from exhibiting bias against Clementi’s guest in both events.
Ravi was also convicted of hindering the prosecution, witness tampering and evidence tampering.
The seven women and five men on the jury reached their verdict after about 12 hours of deliberations.
Steven Goldstein, chair of New Jersey LGBT-rights group Garden State Equality, said the two weeks of testimony illustrated that Ravi was acting out of antigay animus.
“Ravi would not have invaded the privacy of a straight roommate,” he said. “In fact, the most compelling evidence in the case, Ravi’s text messages, indicated exactly that. The text messages demonstrated beyond any doubt that Ravi was deeply uncomfortable with Tyler’s being gay.”
Goldstein said the verdict demonstrates “that a ‘kids will be kids’ defense is no excuse to bully another student."