New York(IANS): Indian American student Dharun Ravi, accused of spying on his gay roommate, faces up to 10 years in jail and deportation to India after a New Jersey jury found him guilty on all charges.
Sentencing was set for May 21 after the jury Friday found Ravi, a former Rutgers New Jersey State University student, guilty on all counts including invasion of privacy and the more severe charges of bias intimidation.
Ravi, now 20, was also found guilty of witness tampering, hindering apprehension and tampering with physical evidence.
After the verdict, Ravi’s attorney Steven Altman vowed to appeal against ruling, but said: “Right now I am just dealing with the emotions that everyone involved with the Ravi family and the defence experienced and continue to experience with the verdict,” he said.
The New Jersey jury was confronted with a series of questions on each charge after it asked for clarification on what constituted bias intimidation.
Though it found Ravi not guilty on several questions within the verdict sheet, because he was found guilty on at least one question on each main count, Ravi was convicted on all charges and could now face the maximum penalty.
His roommate, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman, killed himself in September 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after learning that Ravi had secretly spied on his sexual encounter with another man.
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan called Friday’s verdict “unprecedented,” adding that it “sends a message to people across the rest of the country” about the potential consequences of unauthorised webcam use in an age of expanding social media.
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.”