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Former Rutgers student apologizes for spying on roommate

11:24 AM, May 30, 2012   |    comments
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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, who was convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy for spying on his roommate and sentenced to 30 days in jail, apologized for the first time Tuesday.

In a public statement issued through his attorney, Ravi said he was sorry for what he called his "thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices."

The apology comes a day before Ravi is to appear before Judge Glenn Berman in Superior Court to be apprised of his rights before turning himself in to serve a 30-day jail sentence Thursday.

Ravi was not legally obligated to report to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick, N.J., because the prosecution filed a Notice of Appeal on May 23, two days after the sentencing. The court issued a temporary suspension of Ravi's sentence while the appeal is pending.

The 20-year-old Plainsboro, N.J., resident, however, has chosen to begin serving his sentence, which could be reduced to 20 days with good behavior.

"Apparently, he (Ravi) said he would like to turn himself in on Thursday," said Winnie Comfort, spokeswoman for the state Administrative Office of the Courts. "What the judge will do Wednesday is explain the legal ramifications of turning himself in."

Ravi was sentenced by Berman on May 21 in connection with using a webcam in September 2010 to spy on his college roommate who was engaged in a romantic encounter with another man. The roommate, Tyler Clementi, later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

While Ravi was not charged in connection with Clementi's death, he was convicted on all 15 counts by a Middlesex County jury in March. Those charges included invasion of privacy, attempted invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence, hindering apprehension or prosecution, witness tampering and tampering with physical evidence.

The bias intimidation charges are second-degree offenses and carried the presumption of jail time. State sentencing guidelines list a presumptive jail term of seven years for second-degree crimes before mitigating and aggravated factors are factored in.

Ravi, however, was sentenced to only 30 days and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. He will be on probation for three years. He also received a counseling program on cyberbullying and alternative lifestyles and a $10,000 assessment that will go to victims of bias crimes.

The prosecution has appealed what it considered to be an inappropriately light sentence. Should the prosecution's appeal for a stiffer sentence be successful, Ravi will get credit for time he has served.

USA Today

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