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Gay teen suicide follows internet outing

Tyler-ClementiIt’s believed that an American student has committed suicide after classmates secretly filmed him having sex with another man and posting the footage on the internet. Police in New Jersey recovered a body from the Hudson River on Wednesday 29 September, and it was later identified to be that of Tyler Clementi, 18, a talented violinist and student from the nearby Rutger’s University. Witnesses claim to have witnessed a young man fitting Clementi’s description leaping from the George Washington Bridge a few days earlier. Mr Clementi also left a note on his Facebook page on 22 September saying, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” 

Two fellow students are being questioned in connection with events leading up to his death – specifically footage of him that was posted in the internet. The footage was allegedly taken using a web camera in Mr Clementi's dorm room. The two charged with filming and broadcasting the images are Mr Clementi's room-mate, Dharun Ravi, and Molly Wei.
An account belonging to Mr Ravi on the microblogging website Twitter has recently been deleted. But in a recovered snapshot of the account obtained from Google, Mr Ravi wrote about an experience involving his Mr Clementi.
"Room-mate 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," Mr Ravi wrote on Twitter on 19 September. It is claimed that Ravi then streamed the video live, which was broadcast to the 150 followers of his Twitter feed, outing Clementi in the process
Two days later Mr Ravi wrote: "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."
The two have been accused of invading Clementi's privacy. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison.
Fellow students at the university have spoken of their shock at the incident, and have paid tribute to Mr Clementi – who was only three weeks into his university career. Lawyer Paul Mainardi, speaking on behalf of Clementi’s family; "Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words." 

Posted: 01 October 2010

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