TRENTON, N.J. — A former Rutgers University student openly apologized for the first time on Tuesday for using a webcam to spy on a romantic liaison between a man and a roommate who later killed himself, saying he regrets his "thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices."

Dharun Ravi, who had been criticized by a judge for not showing remorse and for refusing to say he was sorry, also said he will begin serving a 30-day jail term on Thursday even though he doesn't have to.

Through a lawyer, Ravi issued his most contrite public statement yet in a case that made him a symbol of what his family called an overzealous prosecution and that made his roommate, Tyler Clementi, a prime example of what gay rights advocates said were the consequences of bullying.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on Sept. 19, 2010, and Sept. 21, 2010," Ravi said in his statement. "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."

After spending two days repeatedly looking at the Twitter feed on which Ravi announced "I saw him making out with a dude. Yay," Clementi, a shy, talented violinist, threw himself from New York City's George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010.

In March, a jury convicted Ravi of all 15 criminal counts with which he was charged, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. On two of the intimidation counts, he faced up to 10 years in state prison.

Last week, a judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail. Because the sentence is less than a year, it decreases the chances that federal immigration authorities will seek to have Ravi deported to India, where he was born and remains a citizen.

Prosecutors, finding the sentence too lenient, said they would appeal.

Ravi's lawyers have said they expect to appeal the convictions entirely. They say that he was not hateful and that authorities charged him with such serious crimes because of Clementi's suicide even though he was not charged with the 18-year-old's death.

Ravi, 20, could have remained free during the appeal but instead is volunteering to head to the Middlesex County Jail in New Brunswick.

"It's the only way I can go on with my life," he said in the statement.

The apology comes as a sharp reversal in course for Ravi, whose story inspired hundreds of people to rally at New Jersey's State House calling for no prison time and changes in the state's hate crime laws.

When Ravi was sentenced, Judge Glenn Berman chastised him for not apologizing for his actions.

"I heard this jury say `guilty' 288 times," the judge said, referring to all the sub-parts of the charges Ravi faced repeated 12 times, once for each juror. "And I haven't heard you apologize once."

During the court proceeding, Ravi, who had said in March in a newspaper interview that he was "very sorry about Tyler," chose not to address the judge, though he cried as his mother pleaded for mercy for him.

He told Newark's The Star-Ledger newspaper in an interview conducted before the sentencing but published afterward that he did not want to say he was sorry during the sentencing because he thought it would sound insincere.

During the sentencing, Clementi's brother James Clementi said that hearing an apology that late from Ravi would not be meaningful to him.

On Tuesday, the state's largest gay rights group, Garden State Equality, said it was happy Ravi had publicly apologized. But Chairman Steven Goldstein said the group was questioning the timing of the apology.

"We have mixed emotions, and so rather than take an organizational stance just yet, we have posited the question to our members on (the group's) Facebook page to ask what they think," Goldstein said.

Garden State Equality has said Ravi deserves more jail time than he received but "nowhere near" the maximum sentence he could have received.

"We have said that our hearts would be open to an apology had Ravi opened his heart up to us all," Goldstein said. "He could have apologized in a way that would not have compromised his legal position. But he came across to many of us as unremorseful both before the trial and in engineered media appearances after the verdict."

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  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

    Dharun Ravi, 20, right, walks out of Middlesex County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • This undated file photograph provided by Joseph and Jane Clementi shows their son Tyler Clementi at a family function. Opening arguments took place on Feb. 24, 2012 in the trial of a former Rutgers University student found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate Clementi's intimate encounter with another man. (Clementi Family / AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

    Dharun Ravi, 20, right, walks out of Middlesex County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Indian-born former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 20, walks out of Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Indian-born former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi sits in court during his sentencing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 22, arrives at the Middlesex County sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate reported to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 22, is photographed by the media as he arrives at the Middlesex County sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate reported to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • A Middlesex County Sheriff's Dept. van, reportedly transporting Dharun Ravi to jail, drives away from the sheriff's office in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate turned himself in shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Ravi Pazhani

    Ravi Pazhani, leaves the Middlesex County sheriff's department past officers and the media in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012, after the arrival of his son, Dharun Ravi. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate was to report to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi, 22, arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Philip Nettl, Dharun Ravi, Sabitha Ravi

  • Dharun Ravi, center, listens to a court officer with his attorneys Philip Nettl, left, and Steve Altman, during his sentencing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Joseph Clementi,Jane Clementi

    Tyler Clementi's parents, Joseph Clementi and Jane Clementi, look on during a sentencing hearing for Dharun Ravi, in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate, Tyler Clementi, kiss another man days before Clementi killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • As fellow defense attorney Steve Altman, third left, listens, attorney Philip Nettl, left, speaks on behalf of Dharun Ravi, second left, as Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure, second right, and Assistant Prosecutor Chris Schellhorn, right, listen during a sentencing hearing for Ravi in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, center, is helped by his father, Ravi Pazhani, second right, as they leave court around in New Brunswick, N.J., Friday, March 16, 2012. Defense attorney Philip Nettl follows, second left. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Several hundred supporters rally in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The 20-year-old was convicted in March and faces up to 10 years in prison. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Jane Clementi hugs a family member following the verdict in the trial of Dharun Ravi, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, Jerry McCrea, Pool)

  • Renuka Desai, of Edison, N.J., holds a sign and a flag as she joins several hundred supporters at a rally in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The 20-year-old was convicted in March and faces up to 10 years in prison. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Sabitha Ravi, center, talks outside the New Jersey Statehouse about her son, Dharun Ravi, in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012. Supporters rallied on behalf of Dharun, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. Ravi Pazhani, right, and Satish Mehtani, left, watch. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Nachhatar Singh, right, and Gill Harjit wait to join several hundred supporters outside the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi, center, is helped by his father, Ravi Pazhani, right, as they leave court around noon in New Brunswick, N.J., Friday, March 16, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, former Rutgers student found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man, leaves Middlesex County Court on Dec. 9, 2011 in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and sought to prevent his deportation, accepting the gamble of a trial. Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010. Ravi, 19, is not charged in connection with Clementi's death. (Noah K. Murray, AP)

  • Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman talks to the jurors after their verdict in the trial of Dharun Ravi, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, Jerry McCrea, Pool)

  • Dharun Ravi, former Rutgers University student listened to his attorney Steve Altman as he rejected a new plea offer at Middlesex County Court on Dec. 9, 2011 in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi was found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, during an intimate encounter with another man. Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010. (Noah K. Murray, AP)

  • In this May 6, 2011 photo, Molly Wei, the former Rutgers student charged with Dharun Ravi with invading the privacy of Tyler Clementi, looks at the prosecutors during her appearance before Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. (Frank H. Conlon, AP)

  • Jane Clementi, right, and her husband, Joseph Clementi, left, attend a symposium on use and misuse of social media at Rutgers University on Nov. 14, 2011, in Piscataway, N.J. Their son, Tyler Clementi, was in his first weeks as a student at Rutgers in September 2010 when he killed himself after a roommate used a webcam to spy on Clementi's intimate encounter with another man. The family has started a foundation in their son's honor to address cyberbullying. (Julio Cortez, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Jane Clementi looks at family photographs at her home in Ridgewood, N.J. Jane Clementi, the mother of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man, says that he had a lot on his mind just before he went to college. His mother says that in one conversation a few days before Tyler left for college he told her that he was gay, had doubts about his religious beliefs and was sad that he did not have close friends. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Oct. 1, 2010 photo, Rutgers University students sign condolence cards at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J., for the family of fellow student Tyler Clementi. Rutgers University has planned a silent vigil to remember Clementi, who committed suicide after his sexual encounter was secretly streamed online. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • U. S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., speaks at a statewide town meeting in memory of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi on Oct. 6, 2010 at the Rutgers University Student Center in New Brunswick, N.J. (Bill Kostroun, AP)

  • New Jersey Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Edison, stands with other lawmakers on Oct. 25, 2010, in Trenton, N.J., as she answers a question about a bill they introduced to toughen the state's anti-bullying laws after the widely publicized suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. The bipartisan group of lawmakers touted the "anti-bullying bill of rights" targeting public schools and colleges. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Joseph Clementi looks at his wife, Jane Clementi, as they sit in Ridgewood, N.J. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • People walk outside Davidson Hall "C" Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Piscataway, N.J. The death of Tyler Clementi, 18, a Rutgers University freshman living in the dorm, has stirred outrage and remorse among classmates who said they wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge after secret video of his sexual encounter with a man was streamed online. Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, was found guilty of invading Clementi's privacy. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Jane Clementi answers a question as she sits with husband Joseph Clementi as they talk about their son Tyler, in their home in Ridgewood, N.J. The parents of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man, say that he had a lot on his mind just before he went to college. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Oct. 3, 2010 file photo, people participate in a candlelight vigil for Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi at Brower Commons on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, N.J. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River on Sept. 22 after intimate images of him with another man in his dorm room were broadcast online. (Reena Rose Sibayan, AP)

  • In this May 23, 2011 file photo, Joe Clementi, top left, and his wife, Jane, right, sit inside Judge Glenn Berman's courtroom at the Middlesex County Courthouse during a hearing for Dharun Ravi, in the webcam-spying case involving the suicide of their son Tyler Clementi, in New Brunswick, N.J. Joe and Jane Clementi said Friday, March 23, 2012, that a jury got it right last week by convicting their son's roommate, Ravi, of hate crimes and other offenses. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

  • In a March 9, 2012 file photo, Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was found guilty of hate crimes for using a webcam to view his roommate at Rutgers University kissing another man, waits before court proceedings in New Brunswick, N.J. In a legal filing Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Ravi's lawyers asked a judge to overturn the jury's conviction. They said the jury convicted Ravi in March despite evidence that he was not guilty of invading the privacy or intimidating roommate Tyler Clementi, who killed himself days after the webcam was used. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John Munson, Pool, File)

  • Dharun Ravi, Joseph Benedict

    FILE - In this May 30, 2012, file photo, Dharun Ravi, right, sits with his attorney Joseph Benedict during a hearing in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of using his webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man, is due to be released from jail Tuesday, June 19 after serving 20 days of a 30 day sentence. Ravi reported to jail last month even though he could have remained free during an appeal of the case. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)