New Brunswick (New Jersey), May 21: Indian American student Dharun Ravi was Monday sentenced to 30 days in jail by a New Jersey judge for spying on his roommate kissing another man on his webcam. The judge said he will recommend that Ravi not be deported.
Tyler Clementi, Ravi’s freshman roommate at Rutgers New Jersey State University, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge days after the spying incident in September 2010.
Ravi was not charged in connection with Clementi’s death and was convicted on 15 counts of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy charges.
Sentencing Ravi, Middlesex County Judge Glenn Berman said he will recommend that Ravi not be deported.
“Down the road you can expunge this judgement,” he said. “You cannot expunge the conduct or the pain you caused.”
“I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi. He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity,” Berman said.
Ravi must report to the Middlesex Adult Correctional Centre May 31 at 9 a.m. for his probationary sentence.
“I heard this jury say, ‘guilty’ 288 times — 24 questions, 12 jurors. That’s the multiplication,” Berman said. “I haven’t heard you apologise once.”
Before the judge’s sentencing, Ravi’s mother delivered an emotional plea for leniency, during which she and her son both broke into tears.
At the end of her plea, Ravi’s mother threw herself on her son, sobbing and hugging him.
The family of Clementi bitterly asked the judge to sentence Ravi to prison time.
The Indian American community has rallied in Ravi’s support and in recent days, several prominent gay activists too have made public pleas for Ravi to not be sent to prison.
Judge Berman began the proceedings Monday by noting that the court had received a box full of petitions seeking pardon for Ravi, some addressed to President Barack Obama and others to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Only Christie has the authority to pardon someone for a state crime.