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Rutgers case: Victim's parents dismiss Ravi apology as PR stunt

June 01, 2012|By Tina Susman
(Mel Evans )

The parents of Tyler Clementi, a gay Rutgers University student who committed suicide after learning that his roommate had spied on him during a date with a man, have rejected the apology delivered by the roommate as a public relations stunt that showed no sign of genuine remorse.

Joseph and Jane Clementi issued their statement Thursday as Dharun Ravi, who had shared a dorm room with Clementi in the fall of 2010, reported to the Middlesex County sheriff's office in New Jersey to begin a 30-day jail term for having spied on Clementi in September 2010. After Clementi learned that a secret webcam had captured video of him in an intimate encounter with a man in the dorm room, he asked for a new roommate but then threw himself from the George Washington Bridge.

A jury in March convicted Ravi of 15 counts ranging from invasion of privacy to bias intimidation, a hate crime, after concluding that Ravi had targeted Clementi, 18, because he was gay. At his sentencing on May 21, Judge Glenn Berman scolded Ravi for never having apologized. On May 29, Ravi finally did issue an apology through his lawyer.

The Clementis, who both made impassioned pleas to the judge to give Ravi a harsh sentence, said it wasn't enough. “His press release did not mention Tyler or our family and it included no words of sincere remorse, compassion or responsibility for the pain he caused,” they said in a statement released through their attorney. The "so-called apology" was "no apology at all, but a public relations piece produced by Mr. Ravi's advisers only after Judge Berman scolded Mr. Ravi in open court for his failure to have expressed a word of remorse," the statement, reported by local media, read.

The couple also questioned the relatively light sentence given to Ravi, who could have faced 10 years in prison because of the bias crime conviction, saying it "simply disregards" the jury's verdict.

With time off for good behavior, Ravi is likely to serve 20 days. In addition to the jail time, he will be on probation for three years and was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. He was also sentenced to pay $10,000 to an organization dedicated to assisting victims of bias crimes.

Berman has defended the sentence, saying he did not believe that years in prison with hardened and violent criminals fit Ravi's crime. He also said he did not believe Ravi was motivated by hatred.


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