Peeping Tom's invasion of privacy and Bias crime: Student jumps to his death after roommate secretly films gay sex session and puts it on the internet
30th September 2010
A student who was secretly filmed having sex is feared to have killed himself after learning the footage was put on the internet.
Tyler Clementi, 18, is thought to have jumped to his death from a bridge after discovering his sexual encounter with another man had been streamed live to other students by a roommate.
He was said to be distraught before plunging from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in New York. He left a post on his Facebook page saying 'jumping off the gw bridge sorry'.
Student: Tyler Clementi (pictured) is thought to have committed suicide after discovering his sexual encounter had been streamed online
The shocking details emerged after police in New Jersey charged two students with the cyber-voyeurism.
Dharun Ravi, 18, and Molly Wei, 18, are alleged to have hidden a camera inside Clemente's bedroom and streamed his sex session live over the internet.
The pair, who were high school classmates of the victim, were charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy.
The incident took place at Rutgers University in New Jersey, less than a month into the start of the new term.
An investigation began after another student alerted the campus police that the camera had been placed in the student's dorm room without permission.
Charges: Dharun Ravi (above) and Molly Wei (below) have been charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy
Soon after Mr Ravi is alleged to have axed his Twitter account where he made a cryptic September 22 reference to his roommate asking to have their room to himself.
Three days before Mr Clementi's alleged suicide, Mr Ravi posted on his Twitter account saying he had secretly filmed the 18-year-old.
'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,' he wrote.
Two days later he posted another entry directing his 150 Twitter followers to iChat, an internet messaging service which carries live video feed.
'Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again,' he wrote on September 21.
In a statement, Rutgers University spokeswoman Sandy Lanman said the school 'takes these matters seriously and has policies to deal with student behavior'.
Police say Clemente jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge which connects New Jersey and New York city.
They found his car parked on the bridge with his mobile phone and computer on the front seat. He is said to have posted the message on Facebook after installing an application on the phone which allowed him to send messages from the device.
Police said last night that a body had been pulled from waters near the bridge, but it had not been positively identified.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said the privacy charges carry a prison term of up to five years.
On campus and off, Clementi's death sparked both outrage and sympathy.
More than 100 people attended a campus rally last night, with some lying on the ground and chanting, 'If my dorm's not safe, Rutgers isn't safe'.
Dharun Ravi's now deleted Twitter feed featuring posts relating to the incident
The incident took place at Rutgers University in New Jersey, less than a month into the start of the new term
A family statement said: 'Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words.
'They respectfully request that they be given time to grieve their great loss and that their privacy at this painful time be respected by all.'
One friend described him a shy, gifted musician who kept to himself.
He told the New York Post: 'He was quiet, very polite and a wonderful violinist. I didn't know anything about his personal life. He was very reserved. He was very well-regarded.
'This is terribly sad. I can't imagine how devastated his family is.'
Lauren Felton, a 21-year-old student from Warren, said: 'Had he been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened.
'He wouldn't have been outed via an online broadcast and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life.'
A Facebook group, In Honour of Tyler Clementi, was quickly set up and by last night had drawn nearly 3,000 people, many of whom posted remembrances of Clementi or expressions of shock over the death.
Samantha Hoffer posted: 'You will never be forgotten Tyler. I am so glad to have known such an amazing and talented person in my life. Rest in peace.'
Georges Richa, a Rutgers freshman from New Brunswick, said he had met Clementi but added: 'I wish I could have been more of an ally.'