NJ student secretly taped having sex kills himself - KMOV.com

NJ student secretly taped having sex kills himself

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (AP) -- A college student jumped to his death off a bridge a day after authorities say two classmates surreptitiously recorded him having sex with a man in his dorm room and broadcast it over the Internet.  

Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge last week, said his family's attorney, Paul Mainardi. Police recovered a man's body Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River just north of the bridge, and authorities were trying to determine if it was Clementi's.  

ABC News and The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Clementi left on his Facebook page on Sept. 22 a note that read: "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry." On Wednesday, his Facebook page was accessible only to friends.  

Two Rutgers freshmen have been charged with illegally taping the 18-year-old Clementi having sex and broadcasting the images via an Internet chat program.  

Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, said in a statement Wednesday that his group considers Clementi's death a hate crime.  

"We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind," Goldstein said. "And we are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others' lives as a sport."  

It wasn't immediately clear what Clementi's sexual orientation was, and a call asking the family's lawyer about it was not immediately returned Wednesday.  

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 they're convicted.  

A lawyer for Ravi, of Plainsboro, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. It was unclear whether Wei, of Princeton, had retained a lawyer.  

The Middlesex County 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 was also 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 a 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 The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Clementi's body hadn't been positively identified.  

Mainardi issued a statement Wednesday 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."  

New York Police Department harbor officers recovered the body of a white man, clad only in pants, wearing a watch and without identification after a parks department employee spotted a body floating in the river, police said. The body was taken to the city medical examiner's office; authorities hoped to use the watch as identification.

Mulvihill reported from Haddonfield. Associated Press writers Colleen Long in New York and David Porter in Newark contributed to this report.

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