Convicted bully released from jail
Jun 19, 2012 / 8:22 am
An Indian-born former university student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence.
Dharun Ravi, 20, reported to jail in New Jersey on May 31, though he could have remained free while his case is appealed. He did not stop to speak with the media when he was released.
Ravi was convicted earlier this year of 15 criminal counts in a case that drew national attention in September 2010, when roommate Tyler Clementi committed suicide days after the webcam spying. Ravi was not charged with the death, but Clementi's story has been held up as an example of what can go wrong when young gays are bullied.
The 30 days in jail was far less than the 10-year prison sentence Ravi could have received. He still faces three years of probation, plus more than $11,000 in fines and assessments, 300 hours of community service and counselling.
Like other inmates, Ravi automatically was given five days off for good behaviour and five for working.
Federal immigration authorities said Monday that Ravi will not be deported to his native India. He lived there until he was 5 years old and remains a citizen, though he is in the United States legally.
Foreign citizens convicted of crimes in the U.S. can face deportation usually after they complete their prison or jail terms. Last year, Ravi rejected a plea deal under which prosecutors would have sought to protect him from being deported.
Ravi's supporters, particularly from the Indian community, argued for leniency in part to make it less likely that he would be deported. Experts say the proceedings are usually initiated against those who are incarcerated for a year or more.
Jurors heard during his trial that he used a friend's computer in September 2010 to view a few seconds of live streaming video from his own dormitory room webcam and saw roommate Clementi and another man kissing.
He told others about it in person, in texts, instant messages and tweets and alerted others again two days later that Clementi, 18, wanted the room to himself again. That time, the camera did not operate.
A night later, Clementi committed suicide.
Prosecutors are appealing the sentence, arguing that Ravi should have to serve more time for his actions. Ravi is appealing the conviction, saying he is not guilty.
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