Dharun Ravi in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Middlesex County for jury selection, New Brunswick, N.J., February 21, 2012. He is charged with bias intimidation, which could lead to 10 year in prison, if he is found guilty. (Photo: Reuters/Mark Dye)
A verdict has been reached in the Rutgers webcam spying trial, and former student, Dharun Ravi, has been found guilty on 23 counts of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, and now faces up to 10 years in prison.
Ravi, 20, was on trial on a 15-count indictment that included charges of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering and hindering apprehension. Jurors finally delivered a the guilty verdict on Friday morning.
The case sparked national debate in 2010 after Ravi's 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide in September 2010 by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge, following a humiliating incident involving both men.
Ravi had seen Clementi being intimate with another male known only as "M.B" in court documents, via a webcam in their shared dorm room. Ravi sent out tweets to his followers telling them what he had seen and encouraged them to webchat him to see for themselves just two days later.
Clementi reportedly had told his parents he was gay just a few days before starting Rutgers. Following the incident, Clementi read Ravi's tweets and requested a room change from a Davidson Hall resident assistant.
However, as the tragedy unfolded, Clementi later updated his Facebook status to: "jumping off the gw bridge sorry" just four minutes before Ravi sent him a long text apologizing. It is unclear if Clementi ever read the apology.
Prosecutors had argued that Clementi, a closeted homosexual, was so humiliated at what had happened that he decided to end his life. Prosecutors attempted to convince jurors that Ravi was a bully, insisting that he had deliberately tried to harm Clementi after learning about his sexual orientation.
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 21, and along with possible jail, Ravi faces the risk of deportation.
Ravi, who has reportedly been living in the U.S. for many years, could be deported back to India, where he also has citizenship. It would mean being separated from his U.S.-based family.
The case led to national discussions about bullying and prompted a series of anti-bullying campaigns, including a videotaped message condemning bullying released by President Obama less than a month after Clementi's death.