A New Jersey college student jumped to his death after his two classmates secretly filmed him during a sexual encounter with another man and broadcast it over the internet.
Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman, committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge last week, reports ABC News, citing his family's attorney, Paul Mainardi.
Clementi secretly taped having sex with another male
Clementi had become the target of an internet broadcast, showing him in a sexual encounter.
Two other Rutgers students allegedly placed a camera in Clementi's dorm room without his knowledge and then posted it live on the internet.
Clementi's wallet, containing his driver's licence and university identification card, and cell phone were found left on the bridge that spans the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York.
Webcast of sexual encounter took Clementi’s life
Apparently humiliated with the online leak of his sex tape, Clementi decided to end his life. He jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge a day after the sex tape hit the internet, reports ABC News.
Police said a body had been pulled from the Hudson River just north of the bridge but they did not identify it.
However, Clementi's wallet, containing his driver's licence and university identification card, and cell phone were found left on the bridge that spans the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York.
An attorney for the Ridgewood, New Jersey, family confirmed the sad news Wednesday, "On behalf of the family of Tyler Clementi, I can confirm that Tyler committed suicide last week by jumping from the George Washington Bridge."
Family seeks privacy
The attorney also asked for privacy as relatives cope with the devastating loss, reports ABC.
"Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words," the statement continued. "They respectfully request that they be given time to grieve their great loss and that their privacy at this painful time be respected by all."
Victim bid goodbye on Facebook
According to the publication, Clementi posted a goodbye message on his Facebook page before jumping to his death.
His Facebook note, dated Sept. 22 at 8:42 p.m., read, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."
On Wednesday, his Facebook page was accessible only to friends.
"The family and their representatives are cooperating fully with the ongoing criminal investigations of two Rutgers University students," attorney Paul Mainardi added.
Accused students charged with invasion of privacy
Two fellow freshmen students Dharun Ravi, of Plainsboro and Molly Wei, of Princeton, both 18, have been charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly placing a camera in Clementi's dormitory room without his knowledge, according to a written statement by New Jersey's Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan.
One of the accused students, Ravi reportedly updated his Twitter account, admitting to friends that he enabled his webcam to spy on Clementi, who had asked his roommate for some privacy.
"Roommate asked for the room till midnight," he tweeted on Sept. 19. "I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay," as reported by ABC.
Two days later, he tweeted, "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."
Ravi's Twitter account was recently deleted.
Ravi has also been charged with two additional counts of invasion of privacy for trying to use the hidden camera to view and transmit another sexual encounter involving Clementi on Sept. 21.
Both freshmen face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Probe is on
Meanwhile, the Clementi family’s lawyer said the Clementis are cooperating with the ongoing criminal investigation into Ravi and Wei's alleged actions.
The Clementi family statement said, "The family and their representatives are cooperating fully with the ongoing criminal investigations of two Rutgers University students."
Richard L. McCormick, president of Rutgers University, also issued a statement saying, "I deeply regret that today we learned from the family of one of our students that they believe their son has committed suicide. We are profoundly saddened by this report, and our hearts and prayers are with the parents, family, and friends of this young man, who had started at Rutgers this semester as a first-year student on the New Brunswick campus."
"This young man was reportedly the victim of an incident that took place in one of our residence halls last week. Two fellow Rutgers students have been arrested and charged with invasion of privacy for their actions in that incident," he continued.
"If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university's standards of decency and humanity."
"Rutgers is a community that is extraordinarily proud of its diversity and the respect its members have for one another."
Hundreds of Clementi’s friends and his current and former fellow students have posted messages of sympathy and support on Facebook and YouTube pages.
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