Gay rights activists said yesterday they were disappointed with the light sentence given to former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, but hoped that the case would help prevent future incidents of bullying.
Ravi was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in prison, a small cry from the maximum 10 years he faced for using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s sexual encounter with another man.
Ravi’s roommate at Rutgers, Tyler Clementi, jumped off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010 after finding out about the webcam.
This March, a jury convicted Ravi of bias intimidation — a hate crime.
The judge also sentenced him to three years of probation, along with 300 hours of community service. In addition, the judge ordered Ravi to pay $11,000.
Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman called Ravi’s actions “wildly inappropriate”?but noted that Ravi was not charged in the suicide, according to the Associated?Press.
“This is an outrageous slap in the face to all who believe in equal justice,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement. “We continue to work to make sure that all LGBT people are accepted as equals.”
Anthony M. Brown, executive director of The Wedding Party, an advocacy group that supports gay couples and families, told Metro that Clementi’s anguish hit a bit close to home.
He said he was picked on so intensely while growing up in Virginia in the late 1960s and early 1970s that he tried to take his own life.
“My initial reaction to it was, ‘Only 30 days?'” he said of the sentencing.
But he added that, in a way, he feels sorry for Ravi.
“The real problem is a society where it’s OK to bully gay kids,” Brown said. “It is like the last bastion of acceptable discrimination.”
He said he hoped the sentencing would spur discussions about anti-gay bullying.
“My hope,” he said, “is that at least it’s going to start a conversation.”
Ravi unlikely to face being deported
Ravi is scheduled to report to prison on May 31, but that could get pushed back.
Prosecutors said yesterday they would appeal, calling the sentence insufficient, according to the Associated Press.
The judge in the case reportedly recommended that Ravi, who was born in India but grew up in the United States, not be deported.
He had faced deportation after his conviction.