An American court has convicted a former student for using a web cam to spy on his gay roommate’s love life and then sharing the images with fellow students.
Days later, in September 2010, the room mate Tyler Clementi killed himself.
Dharun Ravi, 20, has been found guilty of invasion of privacy and will be sentenced in May.
He faces a hefty prison term and possibly deportation to his native India.
Ravi’s lawyer had argued the student was guilty only of a prank gone wrong when he filmed roommate Tyler Clementi kissing a man, before he Tweeted friends about what he had seen and then invited them to watch a live webcam video.
At a news conference, Tyler Clementi’s father Joe urged students to be tolerant.
“To our college, high school and even middle school youngsters I would say this: you are going to meet a lot of people in your lifetime. Some of these people you may not like. But just because you don’t like them does not mean you have to work against them,” he said.
“When you see somebody doing something wrong, tell them: that’s not right, stop it. You can make the world a better place. The change you want to see in the world begins with you.”
Ravi was never accused in Clementi’s death, but he faced a string of charges accusing him of being motivated by anti-gay bias. The jury returned mixed verdicts on that aspect of the charges.
The New Jersey-based Homosexuals rights’ group Garden State Equality welcomed the verdict, saying it showed that Ravi was motivated by bias.
“Ravi has been convicted and will now face the appropriate societal consequences,” the head of Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, said in a statement.
“We do believe this verdict sends the important message that a ‘kids will be kids’ defense is no excuse to bully another student.”
In addition to the raft of guilty verdicts on invasion of privacy, Ravi was also found guilty on all charges related to attempting to hinder the prosecution.