Friday, March 16, 2012

Jury Verdict Reached In Webcam Bullying Trial

Rutgers Freshmen Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi
A New Jersey jury has convicted Rutgers student Dharun Ravi on all 15 counts he faced of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. Ravi, who used a webcam to spy on and humiliate his gay college freshman roommate, faces up to ten years in prison.

Ravi used his webcam to capture video images of his roommate, 18 year-old Tyler Clementi, kissing another man in his dorm room, and then he briefly broadcast the video online. Days after the incident, Clementi chose to take his own life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. The jury verdict does not hold Ravi legally responsible for Clementi's death, but the jury was aware of the suicide and could certainly make the logical connection between the events.

Ravi, who is 18 years-old and a legal alien resident of the United States, could also be deported to his home country of India as a result of the verdict, despite the fact that he has lived in the U.S. legally since he was a small boy.

Despite the triumph of justice in this case, there is no cause for celebration. Clementi's short life has ended, Ravi's life has been devastated. There are no winners left standing here - only horrific lessons for all of us about the potentially tragic cost of bullying and the very intense personal and public dangers of bias and intolerance.

You can find out a little more here about the short life of Tyler Clementi, the boy who paid the biggest price in this sad case. You can learn more here about how to fight bullying in your community.

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