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Clementi’s parents say Ravi’s sentence is not sufficient

By Karen Sudol, The Record (Hackensack N.J.) –

HACKSENSACK, N.J. — Tyler Clementi’s parents said Thursday that a 30-day jail and probationary sentence given to a former Rutgers student who spied on their son’s gay liaison was not long enough and that an apology issued by Dharun Ravi in a news release this week was “no apology at all.”

Jane and Joseph Clementi’s first statement about the May 21 sentence came on the same day that Ravi surrendered to the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office to begin serving his jail term.

The Ridgewood couple’s comments capped a whirlwind week filled with unexpected news related to the case.

—Ravi announced on Tuesday that despite appeals brought by prosecutors and his attorneys, he planned to serve his sentence in the hope of moving on with his life.

—Ravi also issued an apology for using a webcam in September 2010 to spy on his roommate, Clementi, who took his own life days after the incidents by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

—During a court hearing, Ravi agreed to waive his right not be punished twice for convictions of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy crimes.

—At the same hearing, Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman defended his sentence — the jail term, three years’ probation, community service and counseling.

“Although we do not question the sincerity of his feelings, and we have never sought harsh punishment, we are troubled by the judge’s failure to impose even a short jail sentence on the several charges of criminal invasion of Tyler’s privacy and bias crimes,” the Clementis said.

In their statement, the Clementis said they were also concerned that the probationary term disregarded the law as well as the jury’s findings.

“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,” their statement read.

The family also addressed Ravi’s apology, which had stated, “My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices.”

The Clementis dismissed it as a “public relations piece produced by Mr. Ravi’s advisers only after Judge Berman scolded Mr. Ravi in open court for his failure to have expressed a word of remorse or apology.”

Many defendants convicted of crimes apologize to families and victims in court, but Ravi chose to say nothing, they said.

“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.

The Clementis did not comment on Ravi’s decision to start serving his jail term.

Accompanied by his father, Pazhani, and lawyer, Philip Nettl, Ravi surrendered to the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office at midday Thursday. Walking through a throng of reporters, Ravi was escorted into the building by Sheriff Mildred S. Scott. He then hugged his father in the building’s foyer before he left.

Ravi, who wore a navy blue T-shirt, khakis, sneakers and glasses, was photographed and fingerprinted at the Sheriff’s Office, then transported to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center.

Warden Edmond C. Cicchi did not return a phone call about Ravi’s status at the center but had issued a statement Wednesday night that said, “For the safety and security of all staff members and the inmate population, departmental policy does not allow dissemination of specific information regarding transportation, housing status or other information deemed by custody staff to be security sensitive.”

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