Reporting Pat Ciarrocchi
By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The face of Tyler Clementi called out for justice.
Philadelphia college students at the Attic on 16th Street felt justice was not served with a 30-day jail sentence for Dharun Ravi.
“I was outraged. I felt he definitely needed more than 30 days,” said Robert Romas, a senior at Carver High School of Engineering. “Thirty days? That’s someone’s life!”
The Dharun Ravi sentence was topic one at the Attic, a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Eighteen-year-old Dangelo Cameron didn’t believe a 30-day sentence for invasion of privacy and bias intimidation would make enough of an impact on people to deter bullying.
“Dharun needed to learn what his actions caused,” said Cameron. “Even though he was not the person who made Tyler kill himself—his actions were definitely the final straw.”
Kemar Jewel, who just graduated from Community College of Philadelphia, was troubled by the extent to which Ravi spied on Clementi, who was caught in an intimate encounter with another man.
“I feel as though he went through so much to catch him in his act and then to put it out there for the public, that’s just awful.”
Clementi’s suicide death came days after he learned that Ravi had videotaped the encounter and then revealed it through social media sites. Ravi was not charged with Clementi’s death, but his suicide hung over the trial.
Criminal defense attorney, David Rudovsky believed the sentencing decision was tough for Judge Glenn Berman.
“The crime itself of which he was convicted doesn’t appear that serious—invasion of privacy. But the consequence with the suicide death of the victim just makes everything much more complicated,” said Rudovsky. “You have a family who lost a son.”
But the sentencing decision appears to have turned on the “bias intimidation” charge. Judge Berman said at sentencing, Ravi’s action was not a hate crime. Rudovsky says if Ravi had intended to do Clementi physical harm, the sentence would be very different.
At the William Way Center, a center for the LGBT community, Executive Director Chris Bartlett believes a 30-day sentence won’t be a deterrent for others, whose bias against homosexuals leads to bullying.
“We as a community have a lot of work to do. We have to educate in our school, families and churches,” said Bartlett. “To make sure that bullying doesn’t happen and that gay people are supported through the society.”
Bartlett thinks the real test on the impact of the sentence will come once Ravi completes his time in prison and decides how he will proceed with his life. “The fact that he didn’t apologize shows he doesn’t get how great his actions were and the horrible effect it had on Tyler Clementi’s family and the community at large.”
For students who have dealt with trying to understand their sexual orientation, Tyler Clementi’s death points to how tough it is to feel different.
Twenty year old Kemar Jewel will go to Temple University in the fall. “We’re going through a lot of struggles with identity, and finding out who we are and especially with social media, things get around so quickly. It’s just awful.”