More details are emerging on the tragic and heartbreaking case of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who apparently jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly recorded and live-streamed his sexual encounter with another man.
"Jumping off the gw bridge sorry," read the final Facebook status on September 23 from Tyler Clementi, days after his private life was splashed across Twitter and the internet. Two witnesses said they saw a young man jump off the bridge that evening. A body has been recovered from the Hudson River but it as yet to be identified.
Two other Rutgers students are charged with invasion of privacy after they allegedly activated a webcam in the dorm room and broadcast Clementi's sexual encounter. The roommate, 18-year-old Dharun Ravi, and 18-year-old Molly Wei are each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for the September 19 broadcast.
"Roommate asked for the room till midnight," Ravi messaged on Twitter that night. "I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
Now it appears that in the days before taking his own life, Clementi may have sought help online. Gawker reports a user named "cit2mo" started a thread on justusboys.com called "college roommate spying. The timeline and details are eerily similar Clementi's story. The poster says he reported his roommate to school officials after his makeout session was streamed on the Internet.
Though not as bothered with his roommate's actions as he likely should have been, cit2mo is clearly disturbed by the disregard for his privacy—and the bigoted disgust—shown by both his roommate and the people commenting on his roommate's Facebook page "with things like 'how did you manage to go back in there?' 'are you ok?'" He says he'll file a roommate change request form, and "see what [the school] can offer" him.
Clementi's roommate Dharum Ravi, is free on $25,000 bail on invasion of privacy charges. The second Rutgers student, Molly Wei, was freed on her own recognizance. Both face up to five years in prison if convicted. Two more counts of invasion of privacy were leveled against Ravi for an attempt to videotape another encounter involving Clementi on September 21, prosecutors say. Prosecutors are considering filing additional and/or more serious charges.
A heartbreaking end to what certainly could have been a promising life. September 2010 has been a horrific month for LGBT teens. Two 13-year-olds and one 15-year-old boy committed suicide after relentless anti-gay bullying and taunting.