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Verdict In Tyler Clementi Case Sends Strong Message On Dangers of Digital Abuse

Photo: Screenshot of Dharum Ravi's tweet about Tyler Clementi; Rutgers University Davidson Dorms where Ravy and Clementi resided.

When Tyler Clementi took his own life in September 2010, it was discovered that his roommate at Rutgers, Dharun Ravi, had broadcast a private moment. The world was forced to take notice of a problem that affects modern day’s tech-connected youth: digital abuse.

And now the tragic Clementi case has finally come to a close as verdicts were delivered today. Because of actions Ravi allegedly took that month -- setting up a webcam to catch Clementi kissing another man in their dorm room, tweeting about it, and apparently trying to do the same thing all over again two days later -- he is now a 20-year-old ex-student guilty of 15 criminal counts (he was found not guilty of some subparts but guilty of all 15 as a whole), including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy, and could face up to 10 years in prison and deportation (he's not a US citizen).

That is as heavy as it sounds. To break down the legal jargon: Ravi has been found guilty of committing an anti-gay hate crime and spying on his roommate. It’s important to note that he was not being tried in connection with or for causing Clementi’s death -- the suicide wasn’t even supposed to be mentioned by either the defense or prosecution.

Basically, this was a trial about digital harassment. And the law has spoken -- if you cross the line, there are serious consequences. That’s why it’s so crazy important for you to draw your own lines everyday when it comes to how you interact on the Internet. Cyberbullying is no joke.

The complexities of this case make it clear that everyone’s struggling to define their line. So tell us what you think about the Clementi verdict, and then take action to spread hope, tolerance and acceptance.