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Rutgers StudentFound Guilty in Gay Bullying Case

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In late 2010, Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi broadcast live webcam footage of his male roommate, Tyler Clementi, kissing another man. Days later, Clementi committed suicide — and now Ravi’s been found guilty in a criminal court case connected to the incident.

Ravi, 20, was found guilty on 15 counts of charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, which is deemed a hate crime because Clementi was gay. Ravi could face years in prison or even deportation back to his native India.

His attorney said Ravi’s actions weren’t anti-gay, but simply those of an immature “kid,” and that the camera wasn’t set up to catch Clementi’s exploits — it was just a security measure to ensure Ravi’s belongings weren’t stolen. That was contradicted by evidence showing Ravi had invited friends via Twitter to a “viewing party” when he thought Clementi would again be caught on camera with another man.

Although Ravi wasn’t charged with causing Clementi’s death, the media blitz that erupted around the case highlighted the impact of gay bullying on teen suicide. Other gay teens also took their lives during the same time period, causing both President Obama and popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to speak out publicly about the issue.

Ravi’s friends testified that while he never made anti-gay comments, he did express concern about rooming with a homosexual student. As a result of the case, Rutgers now has a policy permitting opposite-sex roommates in an effort to make gay, bisexual and transgender students feel more comfortable, and New Jersey (where Rutgers is located) enacted an anti-bullying law.

[Associated Press]

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