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Dharun Ravi 30-day jail term distressing to anti-bullying, gay activists

Dharun Ravi arrives at court for his sentencing hearing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. AP Photo/Mel Evans

Was the Dharun Ravi sentence fair? Or too lenient?
Dharun Ravi at his sentencing hearing in New Brunswick, N.J. on May 21.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

(CBS) PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Some Philadelphia college students and LGBT activists are expressing shock at Dharun Ravi's 30-day jail sentence for using a webcam to spy on his roommate during an intimate encounter with another man, CBS Philly reports. They say the sentence is too light to deter bullying.

Pictures: Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days in jail
Pictures: Rutgers Spycam Trial

"Dharun needed to learn what his actions caused," said 18-year-old D'angelo Cameron. "Even though he was not the person who made Tyler kill himself - his actions were definitely the final straw."

Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide days after learning Ravi tweeted about the intimate dorm encounter and almost live-streamed it online. Although Ravi wasn't charged with Clementi's death, his suicide still hung over the trial.

Kemar Jewel, a graduate of Community College of Philadelphia, was troubled at the lengths to which Ravi went to spy on his roommate kissing another man.

"I feel as though he went through so much to catch him...then to put it out there for the public," Jewel said. "That's just awful."

Both Cameron and Jewel work at The Attic Youth Center, a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

"We're going through a lot of struggles with identity and finding out who we are." said 20-year-old Jewel, who will be attending Temple University this fall. "Especially with social media, things get around so quickly. It's just awful."

Clementi's suicide made the sentencing decision especially tough for Judge Glenn Berman, according to criminal defense attorney David Rudovsky .

"The crime itself of which he was convicted doesn't appear that serious - invasion of privacy. But the consequence with the suicide death of the victim just makes everything much more complicated," said Rudovsky. "You have a family who lost a son."

Ravi could have gotten up to 10 years in prison.

During the sentencing, the judge said he didn't consider Ravi's action a hate crime - even though the most serious charge, bias intimidation, is the legal name for what most people call a hate crime, according to The Associated Press.

"I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi," Berman said in the Monday hearing. "He had no reason to, but I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity."

But Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way Community Center for the LGBT community, doesn't believe Ravi learned much from his experience and worries that the 30-day sentencing won't be a deterrent for others whose bias against homosexuals could lead to bullying.

"The fact that he didn't apologize shows he doesn't get how great his actions were and the horrible effect it had on Tyler Clementi's family and the community at large," Bartlett said.

According to an interview with The Star-Ledger newspaper, Ravi said he did not apologize largely because it "would sound rehearsed and empty." The interview was conducted before Monday's sentencing but published after it, said the AP.

"When politicians give public apologies, to me, it always sounds so insincere and false," Ravi said in the interview. "No matter what I say, people will take it that way."

Ravi did not address the judge Monday, and the judge criticized his lack of apology. Clementi's brother James said hearing an apology this late from Ravi would not be meaningful to him, the AP reported.

"We as a community have a lot of work to do," said Bartlett. "We have to educate in our school, families and churches to make sure that bullying doesn't happen and that gay people are supported through the society."

Complete coverage of Tyler Clementi and the Dharun Ravi trial on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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