Thursday, September 30, 2010

College students secretly broadcast gay freshman having sex; victim kills himself

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Tyler Clementi performing with the Ridgewood High School Orchestra at a benefit dinner in 2009
Tyler Clementi performing with the Ridgewood High School Orchestra at a benefit dinner in 2009

It’s yet another horrific incident of a stupid, malicious prank gone tragically wrong. Tyler Clementi, a gifted freshman orchestral musician, has jumped off a bridge to his death only a few days after a dorm-room sexual encounter with another man was secretly filmed by his roommate and accomplice and broadcast over the Internet, thus outing him in the most brutal way imaginable:

“Going to jump off the gw bridge sorry.”

Tyler Clementi posted those words on his Facebook page moments before he apparently leapt to his death on Sept. 22, according to a friend. But the message did little to hint at the crisis unfolding in the life of the Ridgewood teenager.

In the days before, the personal life of the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman had been exposed on the Internet when, authorities say, his roommate used a webcam to surreptitiously broadcast a sexual encounter involving Clementi.

Dharun Ravi (left) and Molly W. Wei (right)
Dharun Ravi (left) and Molly W. Wei (right)

Ravi and another student, Molly W. Wei of Princeton, have been charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy, the Middlesex County prosecutor and Rutgers police said Wednesday. Ravi faces two additional counts for attempting to view and transmit the second encounter, authorities said.

I’ve heard numerous people calling for the two pranksters-turned-unintentional killers to be charged with murder. Unfortunately, they did not directly cause bodily harm to poor Tyler, so murder charges wouldn’t stick. I also don’t know if we could stick them with a hate crime, seeing as this was intended to be a mere prank of sorts that they had no idea would result in the victim’s injury or death.

No … I’m just hoping for some form of “manslaughter” charges, instead.

(via @jennifurret)