By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New Jersey prosecutors say they will appeal the sentence for Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student who used a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man.
A judge yesterday ordered Ravi to serve 30 days of jail time, plus three years probation. Ravi will also have to get counseling and pay $10,000 to a program to help victims of hate crimes.
The sentence mystifies one New Jersey gay rights advocate.
We had a headline grabbing incident, a media magnet trial, and a huge build-up before sentencing, and after?
“That was the weirdest freakin’ verdict in the whole world,” says Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality.
“The entire state of New Jersey is scratching its head. Whether you thought Dharun Ravi should get a tougher sentence, or whether you thought he should get a more lenient sentence, nobody understands 30 days (in jail).”
Goldstein says the sentence was all the more mystifying because the judge had been saying things like, this is a bias crime (though, the judge suggested he thought “hate crime” was a misnomer, since, in his words, “I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi,”) and, “Our society has every right to expect zero tolerance for intolerance.”
Then, the sentence came down: 30 days. Goldstein says at least there’s some jail time so he believes there’s still some deterent effect to be found.
Chris Bartlett, executive director at Philadelphia’s William Way LGBT Community Center, says 30 days in jail can’t redeem this tragedy for the Clementis.
“The true course of justice will only be revealed by Dharun Ravi’s actions after he emerges from jail. We hope that both and the rest of society will work to end the kind of discrimination and hatred that leads a student such as Dharun to persecute a fellow student.”