A former Rutgers University student could face more than 10 years in prison following his conviction Friday for invasion of privacy, hate crimes, tampering with evidence and other charges related to spying on his gay college roommate.
A New Jersey jury convicted 20-year-old Dharun Ravi of all 15 counts, after 12 hours of deliberations over three days, after a national outcry over the death of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, Ravi’s roommate.
"Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay,” wrote Ravi on a social media site in September 2010.
Ravi had streamed from a hidden camera live video of Clementi making out with another boy in his dorm room. Soon after, Clementi jumped to his death off a bridge into the Hudson River.
Clementi’s suicide came within a national debate over cyber bullying. The case also led to New Jersey's speedy passage of an anti-bullying law and Rutgers offering "gender-neutral housing.”
What are the greater implications of this case, and verdict, for cyber privacy? Will Ravi’s conviction strengthen the case for more stringent anti online bullying laws nationwide?
Eric Menhart, Washington D.C.-based attorney who concentrates in cyber privacy law and has handled clients in cyber bullying cases
Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate, Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School