Dharun Ravi, a 20 year old former Rutgers student, now faces up to ten years in prison. He was found guilty in the one of the most watched trials of the years so far. According to Fox News, he has been officially convicted of bias intimidation, a form of hate crime. This nationally watched case has many people talking about bullying and discrimination. It has also brought the issue of bullying into the spotlight as many cases of hate crimes are becoming more frequent in grade schools and colleges across the country. With the national spotlight on this case, many are hoping that this forces officials to take complaints about bullying more seriously.
The Actions That Lead to Being Charged
This disturbed college student took advantage of another student in a way that was so hurtful, it drove him to commit suicide. Ravi set up cameras that streamed to the internet in his room to spy on his roommate. He recorded Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old who also attended the school, becoming involved with sexual relations with another male in their college dorm room. The incident happened on September 19, 2010 and within days the young victim chose to take his own life. Three days after being recorded, Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge and died immediately. He did this after learning about the hateful and unlawful violation of privacy by Ravi. Dharun Ravi even went as far as to hold a screening of the recording with others. The footage captured by the computer mounted camera was shared with many by this spiteful individual.
The actions of Dharun Ravi were so hate driven and damaging to Tyler Clementi that he felt the only way to cope was to kill himself. Since there had never previously been such a specific incident like this on trial, prosecutors had to find a way to prove what Ravi did was unlawful. In order to convict Ravi, jurors had to decide whether or not what he did was because Tyler Clementi was gay. Jurors did find the reason that Ravi singled out the victim for these mean and malicious attacks was because of his sexuality. He was convicted of bias intimidation after a jury of his peers found him to be guilty of this hate crime.
The jury consisted of seven women and five men. They took three days, and twelve hours of deliberation to reach this verdict. In addition to bias intimidation, Ravi was also found guilty of charges that included invasion of privacy, witness tampering, and evidence tampering. Now he is awaiting a hearing to determine how long he will have to serve in prison.