US student guilty in gay webcam suicide case
A former US university student was found guilty Friday on most counts after he secretly filmed a gay roommate in a sexual encounter shortly before the man committed suicide, news site nj.com reported.
Saturday 17 March 2012, 03:02PM
Dharun Ravi, who shared the webcam footage with friends in his dormitory at Rutgers University in New Jersey, was found guilty of invasion of privacy, although acquitted on some of the hate crimes charges lodged after the tragedy, the local news site said.
Ravi faces a hefty prison term and possibly deportation to his native India.
His lawyer had argued that Ravi was guilty only of a prank gone wrong when he filmed roommate Tyler Clementi in a kiss with a man, Tweeted friends about what he'd seen and invited them to watch a live webcam video.
The incident, which was followed days later by Clementi's suicide leap from the George Washington Bridge leading into New York City, touched off a debate across the United States about privacy rights and gay bashing.
Ravi was never accused in Clementi's death, but he faced a string of charges accusing him of being motivated by anti-gay bias. The jury returned mixed verdicts on that aspect of the charges.
The New Jersey-based Homosexuals rights' group Garden State Equality welcomed the verdict, saying it showed that Clementi was motivated by bias.
"Ravi has been convicted and will now face the appropriate societal consequences," the head of Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, said in a statement.
"We do believe this verdict sends the important message that a 'kids will be kids' defense is no excuse to bully another student."
In addition to the raft of guilty verdicts on invasion of privacy, Ravi was also found guilty on all charges related to attempting to hinder the prosecution.