Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, center, who is accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life and faces up to 10 years in jail and deportation to India, leaves court in New Brunswick, New Jersey. AP/Mel Evans
Indian student Dharun Ravi on Friday began his 30-day sentence in a New Jersey jail, as the parents of his deceased Rutgers roommate rejected his apology as a "public relations piece".
20-year-old Ravi was sentenced by a US judge on hate crime charges for using a webcam to spy on his homosexual roommate Tyler Clementi who later committed suicide, terming his behavior "cold, calculated and methodically conceived."
The former Rutgers University student turned himself in at the New Jersey Sheriff's department yesterday where he was fingerprinted and photographed. He was then driven to the Middlesex County Jail, Sheriff Mildred Scott said.
Convicted in March of spying on Clementi while he kissed another man, Ravi had for the first time publicly apologised for his "immature and insensitive" actions earlier this week.
Clementi's parents, however, rejected his apology as they expressed disappointment over the short prison sentence imposed on him by Judge Glenn Berman.
Clementi had committed suicide in September 2010, days after Ravi had used a webcam to watch him kissing another man.
"As to the so-called 'apology', it was, of course, no apology at all, but a public relations piece produced by Ravi's advisors only after Judge Berman scolded Ravi in open court for his failure to have expressed a word of remorse or apology," the Clementis said in a statement issued yesterday.
They said a sincere apology is "personal" and people convicted of crimes address the victims and their families in court.
"Ravi was given that opportunity but chose to say nothing. 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.
Clementi's parents said while they had never sought a harsh punishment for Ravi, they are "troubled" by the Judge's failure to impose even a short jail sentence on the several charges of criminal invasion of privacy and bias crimes.
"We are concerned that the sentence of probation simply disregarded the unanimous verdicts of twelve jury members on these serious charges, that it disregarded the applicable law, that it missed a valuable opportunity to reinforce the message that our society takes these types of crimes seriously, and that we will act decisively to protect individuals' privacy and human dignity," they said in the statement.
Apart from the 30 day jail time, Ravi has been sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to do 300 hours of community service.
Ravi had earlier this week agreed to begin serving his jail term instead of waiting for an appeals court to first rule on the prosecution's demand for a longer jail term.
Ravi arrived at the Sheriff's office accompanied by his father Ravi Pazhani and his lawyer Philip Nettl.
He was dressed in a blue T-shirt, khakis and sneakers and his curly hair had been cropped short. His father followed him into the sheriff's department. His father and two attorneys hugged him before leaving the sheriff's department.
"He got to say goodbye to his family," Scott said.
After surrendering, Ravi would quickly get a taste of being in custody, as he, like any other prisoner, would be placed in handcuffs, Scott said.
According to New Jersey laws, Ravi would be able to shave off at least 10 days from his jail term on account of good behaviour.