Friday, March 16, 2012

Dharun Ravi Found Guilty of Hate Crimes in Rutgers Spying Trial

Actually, I don't recall this being a "hate crimes" trial. But that's the headline at the New York Times, "Defendant in Rutgers Spying Case Guilty of Hate Crimes."

And CNN has this:

"New Jersey enacted a law that said if you secretly record (someone engaged in an intimate act) with a webcam or any other kind of video and you broadcast that without their permission, that is a crime," Callan said. "Every place else in America up until this law was enacted, you could sue somebody for civil damages for the embarrassment, but you weren't going to go to jail. New Jersey said it's criminal."

And because prosecutors were able to prove that Ravi's actions were born of a gay bias, the possible sentence doubles from up to five years to 10 years behind bars.

Clementi's death stirred discussion about bullying, with President Barack Obama releasing a videotaped message condemning it. A few months later, New Jersey legislators enacted stricter laws to protect against bullying in schools.
"This haunting and awful case shows how much society has changed," said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin of Friday's verdict. "Even though he was not charged directly in connection with Clementi's suicide, that tragedy hung over the trial and undoubtedly played a major part in every aspect of the case."

After the verdict, Rutgers University released a statement saying, "This sad incident should make us all pause to recognize the importance of civility and mutual respect in the way we live, work and communicate with others."
Prosecutors had argued that Ravi, who sat expressionless in the courtroom Friday, had tried to embarrass Clementi because he was gay and that his actions were motivated by a desire to intimidate the Ridgewood, New Jersey, native expressly because of his sexual orientation.

"These acts were purposeful, they were intentional, and they were planned," prosecutor Julia L. McClure told the jury on the first day of the trial. Ravi "was bothered by Tyler Clementi's sexual orientation," she later said more bluntly.
Also at USA Today, "Lesson of Rutgers case: Online actions carry consequences."

Added: From London's Daily Mail, "Tears for Tyler: Mother of gay suicide teen cries in court as jury finds Rutgers student guilty of hate crime and spying on his tragic roommate."