Rutgers student kills self after sex act broadcast online


News of Clementi’s death came the same day that Rutgers—the flagship university in a state known for ruthless mob bosses, petulant reality show stars, and cutthroat drivers—launched a two-year project to get people on campus to behave better.

Under the aegis of that project, students, faculty, and other employees have been encouraged to attend a series of lectures, presentations, and discussions on civility, exploring such topics as how cell phones, iPods, and other gadgets affect civility, as well as sportsmanship for athletes and fans.

One of the defendants, Dharun Ravi, was Clementi’s roommate, Mainardi told the Star-Ledger. The other defendant is Molly Wei. Ravi and Wei could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

A lawyer for Ravi did not immediately return a message from the Associated Press (AP) seeking comment. It was unclear whether Wei had retained a lawyer.

The Middlesex County, N.J., prosecutor’s office charged the pair, both 18, with two counts apiece of invasion of privacy, claiming they used the webcam to view and transmit a live image of Clementi on Sept. 19. Ravi also was charged with two more counts of invasion of privacy, alleging he tried to transmit another encounter of Clementi on Sept. 21.

Collecting or viewing sexual images without consent is a fourth-degree crime. Transmitting them is a third-degree crime with a maximum prison term of five years.

A Twitter account belonging to Ravi was recently deleted, but in a cached version retained through Google he sent a message on Sept. 19: “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.”

Two days later, he wrote on Twitter: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

Clementi’s driver’s license and Rutgers ID were found in a wallet left on the bridge on Sept. 22 after two witnesses saw someone jump from it, a law enforcement official told AP. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Clementi’s body hadn’t been positively identified.

Mainardi issued a statement Sept. 29 confirming Clementi’s suicide.

“Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician,” Mainardi said. “The family is heartbroken beyond words.”

Ed Schmiedecke, the recently retired music director at Ridgewood High School, where Clementi graduated earlier this year, said Clementi was a violinist whose life revolved around music.

“He was a terrific musician, and a very promising, hardworking young man.”

On campus and off, Clementi’s story gained sympathy after word of his death spread.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.

Comments are closed.