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Why Dharun Ravi got 30 days in jail in Rutgers webcam spying case (+video)

Dharun Ravi committed 'reprehensible' acts in setting up a webcam to spy on his Rutgers roommate's gay relationship, but they did not reach the level of a hate crime, the judge said.

Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail in a case of webcam spying that drew national attention to issues of online privacy, suicide, and antigay bullying.
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A former Rutgers University student was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail in a case of webcam spying that drew national attention to issues of online privacy, suicide, and antigay bullying.

Dharun Ravi was also sentenced to do 300 hours of community service and pay $10,000 to assist bias-crime victims.

With Mr. Ravi facing the possibility of 10 years in prison and even deportation to his native India, the sentence was lighter than some legal analysts expected.

The case isn't over. Legal experts anticipate an appeal by Ravi of the guilty verdict, even as prosecutors for the state of New Jersey may appeal the sentence.

But already, the case has served as a showcase for the nation of the risks that arise when young people use social media as an integral part of their lives, sometimes with little thought about the potential toll on others, or the potential legal consequences. 

The case involved Ravi's use of a dorm-room webcam to spy on his roommate's gay relationship while the two were freshman at Rutgers in the fall of 2010. The incident became a nationwide symbol of digital-age bullying because it involved Ravi's text messages to friends and his public Twitter updates, and because the roommate committed suicide a few days later.

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