BY ROB SALERNO – The 18-month-long legal drama of the aftermath of Tyler Clementi’s suicide came to a close March 16 with a guilty verdict rendered upon Dharun Ravi, the roommate who videotaped Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man and encouraged other students at Rutgers University to watch via Twitter.
Clementi, who was still in the closet, committed suicide days later.
Ravi was found guilty of 15 counts, including bias intimidation, a hate crime, invasion of privacy, witness tampering and hindering apprehension. He faces up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to his native India, although he has lived in the US for years. That sounds pretty harsh, but let’s hope that the sentencing is fair and commensurate with the crime.
Clementi’s suicide touched millions of people around the world, coming as it did near the beginning of a wave of media attention on the related issues of teen bullying and gay suicide.
Tyler Clementi pictured with his older brother James. James came out in the wake of his brother’s death and famously penned
some very poignant letters to Tyler in Out magazine.
The story sparked a worldwide outpouring of grief. Let’s hope it also sparks serious discussion about respect and responsible use of social media.
And that this verdict provides some closure and peace for Clementi’s family.