A Rutgers University freshman is presumed to have killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his college roommate posted an Internet video of him in a sexual encounter with another man.
Tyler Clementi, 19, is the fourth teen in the past month believed to have taken his own life after being harassed by peers for his sexual orientation, according to Hayley Gorenberg with Lambda Legal, a GLBT advocacy group.
“We’re at a crisis point here,” said Gorenberg. “This series of suicides is the most horrifying illustration any of us could imagine of the effect of invading young people’s private lives and not protecting them from harassment based on who they are.”
Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, 18, and Molly Wei were arrested and charged with invasion of privacy for secretly placing a camera in Clementi’s dorm room and then splashing live images of him all over the Internet.
“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,” Ravi tweeted on Sept. 19.
A body washed up yesterday in the Hudson River in Harlem, but has not yet been identified as Clementi. Clementi’s car was found parked near the bridge, and his wallet was found on the bridge walkway.
Charges against Ravi and Wei could be upgraded to federal hate crime status if they chose to record Clementi because of his sexual orientation, but not enough facts are known in the case at this time.