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Student Commits Suicide Over Sex Video
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30 Sep 2010 EST

-by Jessica Verderame, Staff Writer

A Rutgers University freshman jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, all over a cruel joke played by his roommate. Tyler Clementi, 18, shared a dorm room with Dhraun Ravi—who, along with student Molly Wei, is accused of turning Celmenti’s intimate moment with another man into a live streaming video, and even advertising it on his Twitter page. Ravi and Wei, both 18, are at the center of the controversy, which is now being called a hate crime; the two are accused of invasion of privacy, and could face up to five years in prison.

The first tweet indicating that Ravi was spying on his roommate read, “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” What apparently began as an accident continued when Clementi asked for the room on Sept. 21. This time, Ravi’s Twitter page read, “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.” Though it isn’t clear yet how Celmenti found out, news of the incident spread quickly throughout the campus.

The next day, Clementi updated his Facebook status to read, “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” A body was found north of the bridge in the Hudson yesterday but has yet to be identified, though he left behind his car, cell phone and a wallet containing his ID.

Civil-rights groups are speaking out on behalf of young people such as Clementi who are tormented due to their sexuality, often taking drastic and tragic measures to avoid such instances.

Gawker has screenshots of what they believe is a thread on gay message board www.justusboys.com started by Clementi, asking for advice on the matter. The thread, if it is indeed the same student, shows that Clementi knew about the incident soon after it happened.

Ravi and Wei have been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy, according to The New York Times, for “using ‘the camera to view and transmit a live image’…Ravi was charged with two additional counts of invasion of privacy for trying a similar feed on the Internet Sept. 21, the day before the suicide.”

Ravi was freed on $25,000 bail, and Wei was released on her own recognizance. It has not yet been revealed what kind of action Rutgers University is going to take to punish the students, though Richard L. McCormick, New Jersey University’s president, released a statement saying “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.”

The incident sheds light on the growing problem of cyber bullying and the ways the Internet has made it easier to torment others; bullies and bullying come in more varied forms than ever—making it easier to spread cruelty further than just a school campus.

Clementi was a New Jersey native and accomplished musician. Family and friends are devastated by the death of the quiet, shy violinist who took his own life last week.

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