Former Rutgers student asks to begin jail sentence in webcam case
Dharun Ravi wants to go to jail.The former Rutgers University student convicted of spying on his gay roommate in a sexual encounter with a man has asked Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman for permission to begin serving the 30-day prison sentence Berman imposed last week rather than wait for the appeals process.
Dharun Ravi wants to go to jail.
The former Rutgers University student convicted of spying on his gay roommate in a sexual encounter with a man has asked Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman for permission to begin serving the 30-day prison sentence Berman imposed last week rather than wait for the appeals process — which could take months — to be completed.
Ravi is expected to be at a hearing before Berman in Middlesex County Court tomorrow morning to formalize the request.
"I decided to accept and hopefully complete the sentence as soon as possible. It's the only way I can go on with my life," the Plainsboro, N.J., resident said in a statement released today by his lawyer's office.
Ravi, 20, was convicted of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and related charges in connection with two incidents in September 2010, involving his roommate and fellow freshman Tyler Clementi, of Ridgewood, N.J.
Clementi, 18, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010, shortly after learning that Ravi had used his laptop webcam to view him kissing a man on Sept. 19 and had tried to spy on him again on Sept. 21.
While the suicide was not part of the criminal case, it became the focal point for a national debate over the issues of cyberbullying and gay-bashing.
In a two-paragraph statement released today, Ravi offered a public apology but he did not single out individuals whom he had hurt. Berman had chastised Ravi his sentencing hearing for showing little remorse or contrition and not addressing his victims directly.
The judge departed from sentencing guidelines — bias intimidation can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years — by imposing a sentence that many gay-rights groups and others said was far too lenient. The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office has announced that it intends to appeal Berman's sentencing, arguing that while Ravi did not deserve the maximum, his convictions warranted more than a month in jail. Ravi also faces three years' probation, 300 hours of community service and a fine of $10,000.
"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made," Ravi said in the statement. "My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or a desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices."
Ravi said he hoped to surrender to the Middlesex County Correctional Facility on Thursday to begin serving his jail term. In fact, he may serve only 20 days. Such sentences usually carry an automatic 10 days off for good behavior if the inmate causes no problems while in jail.
At tomorrow's hearing, Ravi is expected to waive his right to remain free pending the prosecutor's appeal. His waiver would have no impact on the appeal's process; should an appellate court order a resentencing, Ravi would have to serve any additional jail time imposed.
Contact George Anastasia at 856-779-3846 or email@example.com.