Homophobic bully found guilty on all counts

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Patrick Mahoney
Homophobic bully found guilty on all counts


Don't know if many Canadians know about this, so I'll sum it up. A Rutgers student, Dharun Ravi was found guilty of spying on his gay roommate in order to "out" and "shame" him for being gay....Also a good amount of evidence that Dharun whose parents are apparently quite wealthy looked down on Tyler Clementi (his roommate) for not being as affluent as him, but U.S. law right now doesn't consider "hating the poor" to be a crime at the moment.

Anyways after months of bullying Clementi was driven past the breaking point & committed suicide due to the spying, bullying, and hate directed at him by Dharun. Ravi was accused of 15 counts after using a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi's dorm-room tryst with another man in 2010.

The AP is reporting he faces 10 years in prison on the most serious convictions. He is also at risk for deportation to India, where he was born, sources are reporting.

What do you think?  Personally I think there was a lot more that the law courts could have done & that 10 years is a pittance for effectively taking someone's life because you refused to respect his existence.  They should have tried to lay more charges on him and at least charge him with manslaughter or murder imho.


Actually, under the law, the prosecution wasn't allowed to link Ravi's actions to Clementi's suicide. The suicide could not be brought up in the trial. His charge was "bias intimidation". Basically, they had to treat his actions (using the webcam to spy on his roomate) in a vaccuum. E.g. Even if Clementi hadn't tragically taken his life, the charge would be the same.

I'm sort of torn on this. Wht he did was completely unjustifiable and it's a terrible tragedy what happened. On the other hand, I doubt his intention was to push him that far and doubt that he even considered the possibility of just how horribly this would all end. He was an immature 18 year old, away from home for the first time, surrounded by other immature 18 year olds and he did something incredibly stupid.

Glenda Rasdunik

As bad as it was for Ravi to spy on his roommate, it was basically a stupid move.  From the sounds of it it sounds like the Clementi already had other problems as well, such as being rejected by his mother.  I suspect that had Clementi not killed himself, or if Clementi was heteroseual, they wouldn't have been as harsh with him.  Or for that matter, if Ravi were an ordinary white guy.

I also read somewhere that he suspected his roommate of stealing from and was trying to catch him in the act.  That may or may not be an excuse, though.

Also, if the main issue is spying I'd like to see the some government officials get thrown in jail, since the US Government has been spying on citizens for years.



Glenda Rasdunik wrote:

.  I suspect that had Clementi not killed himself, or if Clementi was heteroseual, they wouldn't have been as harsh with him.  Or for that matter, if Ravi were an ordinary white guy.

The fact that he committed suicide was not officially a factor in the case but the massive outcry over what happened may have put pressure on teh prosecutors to pursue the case and lay the charges that they did. And, no, if it was a heterosexual encounter, it would not have been nearly as harsh because it would lack the "bias intimidation" factor which is what aggravates the initially minor charge (invasion of privacy). Just like a minor crime of graffiti (say spraypainting your name on the side of a wall) would be far more harsh if you were to spray paint a swastika on the side of a synagogue, since that would count as "bias intimidation."

Patrick Mahoney

You know I'm not usually one to say we need to get tough on crime, but in this case they should not just have thrown the book at Ravi, they should have thrown the entire law library at him.  I know it sounds like I'm deviating from my usual ideology here but I am not an extremist in any context.

A lot of kids come out in college, or in graduate school, because they are counting on college campuses to be bastions of freedom, tolerance, and diversity.  Obviously Dharun Ravi intended to disrupt this process and the Rutgers community with his hateful attitude.  I think Clementi's death SHOULD have been taken into account and don't think that 50 years in prison or even the death penalty would even be too harsh.  Again I am normally against the death penalty and think it should be applied as sparingly as possible but this is an exception.


I agree with Patrick Mahoney, in terms of the severity of the crime. Bullying like this, yeah, I could see checking out, stone cold sober, especially if I was a young person with a brain that is still developing - public disclosure of private pleasures like this causes immeasurable suffering on young people and the bully knows it, that's why that technique is chosen. The victims don't have the coping skills of a mature person who is at peace with their sexuality, regardless of sexual inclination. I say this knowing bullies can detect prey. I say throw the book at him, but afterwards, if you want to save his soul, that kid is going to need to be educated about how diversity makes for a more pleasant place to live. Putting him to death might feel good to contemplate but I doubt it would be edifying.


Patrick Mahoney wrote:

 Again I am normally against the death penalty and think it should be applied as sparingly as possible but this is an exception.

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/news-rest-us/political-philosophy-juche#comment-... coulda fooled me.[/url]

Anyway, I find it endlessly fascinating when people debate how severe the penalty should have been when they have very little clue as to what happened.


Freedom 55

I still don't feel like I have a clear picture of what happened, but a friend posted this, which provides some background and context beyond just the headlines that I'm most familiar with.

[url=http://www.thenation.com/blog/166902/tyler-clementi-and-dharun-ravi-we-w... Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi We Will Never Know[/url]


I have the feeling that it is more complicated than the media and made it out to be.  Of course, not having known either Ravi or Clementi, or being in the courtroom it's hard to say based on evidence.  The article that Freedom55 posted was interesting.  There was more to it than one person being some sort of extreme homophobe who made the other kid kill himself and if anything it shows the complicated nature of life and inter-personal relationships in a diverse melting pot of ethnicities, personal beliefs, and orientations.

You can't know a persons mind, and it seems after reading Freedom's article, that Ravi wasn't really so much personally homophobic, at least any more so than the average American.  

While what Ravi did would have been wrong even without the "hate crime" and without the sucicide, one can't help but wonder if Ravi was a convenient fall guy for someone else.  Clementi also had problems of his own, but it doesn't seem that he had gotten much help beforehand.  Also, it's possible that maybe "MB" was someone of influence within the local business or political community, and was afraid of the news getting out.  Also, being an immigrant, he would be more legally vulnerable to having the book thrown at him and indeed he faces deportation now that he's been found guilty.

There should probably be some sort of punishment for the invasion of privacy, which would be wrong no matter who he did it to but I think 10 years would be too much.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Reflecting on Dharun Ravi’s conviction

In Ravi’s trial, the jury concluded that Ravi neither intended to intimidate Clementi nor believed that his acts would make Clementi feel intimidated because of his sexuality. Yet, the jury did conclude that, based on computer evidence, Clementi probably felt intimidated because of his sexuality.

As someone who wants to rid the world of homophobia, this conviction leaves me devastated. I recognize the symbolic move that this is supposed to make. This is supposed to signal that homophobia will not be tolerated. But Ravi wasn’t convicted of being homophobic, but, rather, creating the “circumstances” in which Clementi would probably feel intimidated. In other words, Ravi is being punished for living in a culture of homophobia even though there’s little evidence to suggest that he perpetuated it intentionally. As Mary Gray has argued, we are all to blame for the culture of homophobia that has resulted in this tragedy.

I can’t help but think of Clementi’s parents in light of this. By all accounts, their reaction to their son’s confession that he was gay did more to intimidate Clementi based on his sexuality than Ravi’s stupid act. Yet, I can’t even begin to imagine that the court would charge, let alone convict, Clementi’s distraught parents of a hate crime. ::shudder::

I can’t justify Ravi’s decision to invade his roommate’s privacy, especially not at a moment in which he would be extremely vulnerable. I also cannot justify Ravi’s decision to mess with evidence, even though I suspect he did so out of fear. But I also don’t think that either of these actions deserve 10 years of jail time or deportation (two of the options given to the judge). I don’t think that’s justice.

This case is being hailed for its symbolism, but what is the message that it conveys? It says that a brown kid who never intended to hurt anyone because of their sexuality will do jail time, while politicians and pundits who espouse hatred on TV and radio and in stump speeches continue to be celebrated. It says that a teen who invades the privacy of his peer will be condemned, even while companies and media moguls continue to profit off of more invasive invasions.


Thanks for the reality check, CF.

So are we still considering the [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/lgbtq/homophobic-bully-found-guilty-all-counts#c... penalty[/url]?


I wasn't. Anyway, whether he's personally homophobic or not, Ravi reasonably ought to have known that homophobic intimidation was a likely outcome of what he did.


I don't think he could reasonably have known that his "victim" might commit suicide. A reasonable person will not assume anything they do will drive somebody to suicide, because reasonable people do not consider suicide in normal circumstances. I've been subjected to this kind of bullying and intimidation throughout my life and I want more done to combat it, but to me that means more advocacy and public education campaigns, not using the so-called "justice system."

Catchfire Catchfire's picture


Dharun Ravi sentenced to 30 days in prison

In a rather lenient sentencing, a New Jersey judge sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail also suggesting that he not be deported. A probationary sentence for Ravi, who earlier this year was convicted of bias intimidation and a handful of other hate crimes for bullying his Rutgers roommate Tyler Clementi. Why did they throw the book at him? Because shortly after Ravi had broadcast Clementi’s affairs online–Clementi committed suicide.

This case has been provocative and the outcome unsettling. Long sentences are rarely effective, deportation inhumane and we can pretty much guarantee that Dharun Ravi will never bully someone again. But we will also never know exactly why Tyler Clementi committed suicide, or what he went through. His family will never get to see him again and he won’t be graduating college or get another chance. And another young man lost his life most likely because of a culture of homophobia–where he didn’t feel safe. So unsafe that he took his own life.


Sven Sven's picture

Good update, CF.

What a heartbreaker.


"In other words, Ravi is being punished for living in a culture of homophobia even though there's little evidence to suggest that he perpetuated it intentionally, As Mary Gray has argued, we are all to blame for the culture of homophobia that has resulted in this tragedy."
I don't think I agree with that. maybe its too 'Mr Obvious' but I think most phobics would have gotten a new roommate and not personalized their retribution for having been left in the dark by a friend.
Being young and dumb aside, 99/100 people coached by the culture of homophobia would 'Flight 'and not sit around thinking up the sequence of 'Fight' events that followed.
I don't know if the culture is worse now than it was 20 years ago, but I stumbled upon a friends sexuality at a party and I didn't want anything to do with him, I ran away and stood over my brothers passed out body because presumably he was now in mortal danger.
how can ignorance hereafter known as "I do everything Im told to do" be a defence, does that work if I smack my wife around? how many devalued lives are their in our culture? countless