A New Jersey jury has convicted former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation when using a webcam to record and live-stream roommate Tyler Clementi's sexual encounter with another man in September 2010. The 18-year-old Clementi committed suicide only three days later.
"Of the 35 separate charges on 15 counts, 24 came in guilty, with 11 not guilty. Most of the not guilty verdicts applied to Clementi’s companion, identified only as M.B.," reports the Star-Ledger. The convictions include invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering, hindering arrest and hate crime charges. The 20-year-old Dharun Ravi could face 10 years in prison and eventual deportation to his native country of India. Sentencing is May 21.
In December 2011, Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and sought to prevent his deportation.
The guilty verdict was reached after only two days of deliberations. Defense attorneys argued that Ravi was not acting out of hatred toward Clementi or gay people, but that he was young, immature and worried about his iPad being stolen.
Prosecutors countered those claims with numerous witnesses and text messages that said otherwise. Witnesses testified that Ravi not only positioned the webcam toward Clementi's bed, but attempted to stream a second encounter and invited students to a "viewing party" Skype and Twitter. Text messages showed that Ravi told friends that he was "creeped out after" watching the encounter and said, "Keep the gays away."
Clementi took his life on September 22, 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Ravi has not been charged in Clementi's death.