NEW BRUNSWICK – The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office plans to appeal the 30-day jail sentence received by Dharun Ravi for using a webcam to violate the privacy of his Rutgers University roommate, Tyler Clementi.
Days after the incident, when Ravi saw Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man, Clementi jumped off of the George Washington Bridge. Ravi was not charged in Clementi’s death.
“While the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office did not request the maximum period of incarceration for Dharun Ravi, it was expected that his conviction on multiple offenses of invading the privacy of two victims on two separate occasions, four counts of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, and the coverup of those crimes, would warrant more than a 30-day jail term,” said a statement from the prosecutor’s office released yesterday.
“The imposition of this term is insufficient under the sentencing laws of this state, the facts that were determined by a jury, and long-standing appellate precedent. Consequently, this office will appeal the sentence.”
The 20-year-old Ravi could have faced as much as 10 years in state prison. Instead, the Plainsboro resident is scheduled to begin serving his 30-day sentence at Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick on May 31. He must pay court fines and contribute $10,000 to a state-licensed, community-based organization dedicated to assisting victims of bias crimes. Ravi was also sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service.
“Whether the 30-day jail sentence was appropriate — and we have some concerns whether it was — it should not be misinterpreted as downplaying the gravity of Ravi’s actions,” said Etzion Neuer, acting Anti-Defamation League New Jersey Regional Director. “It is our hope that through his mandated community service he will emerge from this tragedy with a better understanding of the devastating impact of cyberbullying.”
“True justice for Tyler Clementi cannot be found in any prison sentence, but rather in schools and communities – when we work to ensure that no student feels socially isolated or marginalized,” added Neuer.
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