Main | Friday, March 16, 2012

(Mostly) Guilty Verdict In Spycam Trial

A New Jersey jury has found Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy for live-streaming the sexual encounter of his Rutgers roommate, Tyler Clementi, who later leaped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. Ravi was also found guilty of several counts of tampering with evidence, witness tampering, and hindering prosecution. It appears that the jury also found Ravi not guilty of hate crimes against Clementi's sex partner, but guilty of bias intimidation against Clementi himself. Story developing...

UPDATE: ABC News reports on the verdict.
Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was found guilty of the most serious charges for spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, having a gay sexual encounter in 2010, a New Jersey jury ruled today. Ravi was convicted of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering, and hindering arrest, stemming from his role in activating a webcam to peek at Clementi's date with a man on Sept. 19, 2010. Ravi was also accused of encouraging others to spy during a second date, on Sept. 21, 2010, and intimidating Clementi for being gay. Ravi, who faces 10 years in prison and deportation to India, was was found not guilty of some of the 15 counts of bias intimidation, attempted invasion of privacy, and attempted bias intimidation, but was found guilty of the majority of crimes. Ravi's attorney, Steven Altman, put his arm around Ravi's shoulder shortly before the verdict. Ravi showed little reaction as the jury read out the verdicts to his crimes.
UPDATE II: Lambda Legal reacts via press release.
"This is a tragic story in which there can be no happy ending. A young gay man took his own life,and other LGBTQ youth still live in a culture where they are too often made to feel fear and shame for simply being themselves. This case has focused the nation on how critical it is that we ensure every young person can feel safe and proud. "Hate crime laws are public statements that our government and our society recognize the deep wounds inflicted when violence is motivated by prejudice and hate. The actions of Dharun Ravi were inexcusable and surely added to Tyler Clementi's vulnerability and pain. The verdict today demonstrates that the jurors understood that bias crimes do not require physical weapons like a knife in one's hand.But there is no sense of victory in this conviction - only a renewed urgency to do what we can to prevent the next tragedy. "As this trial closes, let us each mark this day by rededicating ourselves to fighting discrimination and hate against LGBTQ youth -- and to educating all of our youth about respect for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

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