Tyler Clementi Webcam Spying Case Ruled a Hate Crime

A jury found 20-year-old Dharun Ravi guilty of having homophobic motivations for using a webcam to spy on his former Rutgers roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who killed himself shortly after the incident.

Although the defense argued that Ravi was simply playing an immature prank when he filmed Clementi and a male romantic partner alone in their shared dorm room —"Who wouldn't be curious," attorney Steve Altman said, "if it's your room and all of a sudden in a dorm of 18 and 17-year-olds somebody comes in looking scruffy and homeless?" — the jury took less than three days to determine that Ravi was motivated by homophobia, not a healthy curiosity. Ravi was charged with four counts of bias intimidation as a hate crime, two counts of invasion of privacy, two counts of attempted invasion of privacy and seven counts of witness tampering and hindering apprehension. He now faces up to ten years in prison based primarily on the bias intimidation charges and a possible deportation back to his native India.

Legal expert Margaret Finerty, a former New York federal judge, told NBC that deportation isn't a "sure thing" and would be decided by a different court, which would determine if the crime was one of "moral turpitude, which is one of the kinds of offenses that could get someone deported."

The sentencing date has been set for May 21.

Dharun Ravi found guilty in Rutgers webcam spying trial [Rutgers Star]
Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy, other counts in Tyler Clementi Rutgers spying case [NY Daily News]
Former Rutgers Student Convicted in Webcam-Spying Trial [Wall Street Journal]