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US webcam case: Ravi apologises for 'incentive' actions

May 30, 2012 11:41 IST
Indian student Dharun Ravi, convicted of spying on his gay roommate who later committed suicide, has publicly apologised for the first time for his "insensitive and immature" actions, saying he will surrender this week to begin his month long jail term.

Ravi said he regretted his "stupid and childish" choices when he set up a webcam to view the sexual encounter of his roommate Tyler Clementi with another man on two occasions in September 2010 but said he did not act out of hatred.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices... My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices," 20-year-old Ravi said in a statement released by his lawyer Steven Altman.

The apology by Ravi is the first time the former Rutgers University student has publicly said sorry for his actions.
Ravi had come under sharp criticism for not apologizing during his trial for spying on Clementi and then inviting his other friends to view the sexual encounter through a webcam.

Judge Glenn Berman of the New Brunswick court, who had sentenced him, had admonished Ravi for not showing any remorse for his "colossal insensitivity."

During sentencing, Berman had said, "I heard this jury say, 'guilty' 288 times–24 questions, 12 jurors. That's the multiplication. I haven't heard you apologise once."

Clementi's parents too had said expressed sadness that Ravi did not seem apologetic for his actions that led their son to commit suicide.

Clementi's parents had become tearful as they read statements during his sentencing on May 21, saying Ravi had never shown "a lack of remorse" for spying on Clementi, who had jumped off the George Washington bridge after he found out that Ravi had seen him kissing another man.

After a three-week trial in March, Ravi was convicted on 15 counts of hate crime and bias intimidation charges. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years probation, 300 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fine of more than $10,000.

Ravi said he will surrender to the Middlesex County Correctional Facility on May 31 to begin his 30-day period of imprisonment.

The prosecution has filed an appeal saying the month-long sentence is too lenient and is demanding that Ravi be given a longer prison term.

Ravi was not required to begin his sentence till the prosecution's appeal had been ruled upon. But he said he would not wait for the decision on the prosecutor's appeal, as he wants to finish his jail term soon and get on with his life.

"Nevertheless, I decided to accept and hopefully complete the sentence as soon as possible. It's the only way I can go on with my life," Ravi said.

Altman said Ravi wanted to go through with the jail term sooner rather than later. "It's his decision. He wanted to get it over with," Altman said.

Ravi would appear later today before Berman in New Brunswick and would report to the Middlesex County Jail a day later.

However, according to prison regulations in New Jersey, Ravi could be able to shave off at least 10 days from his month long sentence on account of good behaviour.

New Jersey regulations allow inmates sentenced to 30 days to have up to five days slashed from their term for good behavior and another five days for doing tasks like sweeping or mopping in prison.

Ravi had faced up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to his native India. Since his sentence is less than a year, the chances of federal immigration authorities seeking his deportation has decreased.


Yoshita Singh
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