Ex-Rutgers Student Set for Jail in Webcam Spy Case
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - A former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate is poised to start serving his 30-day jail sentence.
Dharun Ravi, 20, is scheduled to turn himself in Thursday at the Middlesex County Jail.
In March, a jury found Ravi guilty of 15 criminal charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. He used his webcam in September 2010 to stream - and view - seconds of live video of roommate Tyler Clementi and another man kissing, and told others they could watch another encounter two days later. Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge just days after the ordeal began.
Ravi could have remained free while prosecutors appeal his sentence. But during a hearing Wednesday, he agreed to waive his protection from double jeopardy. He is now not allowed to argue that he’s already served his time if prosecutors prevail on their appeal and he receives a longer sentence.
Ravi requested permission Tuesday to start serving his sentence as he apologized for the first time for his actions, which he described in a statement as "thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish." In court Wednesday, Ravi answered questions from his lawyer and Berman but did not say any more about his apology.
Ravi’s lawyer Joseph Benedict said he’s still appealing the conviction altogether.
It’s not clear whether Ravi will serve the full 30 days. In most cases, New Jersey county jail inmates with 30-day sentences automatically have them reduced by 10 days for good behavior. A warden at Middlesex County Jail was not immediately available Wednesday to say whether that would apply to Ravi.
His lawyer said Ravi would also begin working on his 300 hours of community service and start paying the more than $11,000 in fines and assessments that are part of his punishment.
Some gay rights activists have portrayed Clementi’s story as a prime example of the consequences of bullying young gays. Ravi’s defenders see him as a scapegoat for a death that they don’t believe he was responsible for - and was not charged with.