Tyler Clementi’s parents say they don’t want harsh punishment for classmates

Tyler Clementi

Associated Press

NEWARK, New Jersey — The parents of a university student who killed himself after authorities said his intimate encounter with a man was captured by a webcam want his classmates’ invasion-of-privacy cases prosecuted, but they don’t want them to receive harsh punishment.

Tyler Clementi’s parents, Jane and Joseph Clementi, issued a statement Tuesday, six months after he jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey and New York.

“The past six months have been the most difficult and painful of our lives,” they said. “We have done our best to deal with the grief and pain of the death of our son Tyler, in awful circumstances while dealing with the crush of media attention, the pending criminal investigations and, of course, our own unanswered questions.”

The Clementis have not granted any interviews, but have released a few statements to reporters. The latest one was sent first to The Star-Ledger of Newark.

Clementi’s roommate at Rutgers University, Dharun Ravi, and classmate Molly Wei are each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy. Authorities said that last September, they used a webcam to watch part of Clementi’s encounter with another man. Within days, Clementi killed himself.

Family attorney Paul Mainardi said the Clementis feel it’s important to establish it was not “a college prank.”

Gay rights and anti-bullying groups seized on the suicide and made it a symbol of the movement to take bullying, particularly of young gay people, seriously.

The charges against Ravi and Wei do not link the alleged spying to Clementi’s suicide.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has weighed additional bias intimidation charges, but no decision on those more serious charges has been announced. Mainardi said he believes the investigation is substantially complete.

Lawyers for the students, both of whom have since withdrawn from Rutgers, have said their clients are not guilty of any crimes. The lawyers did not immediately return calls on Tuesday.

The fallout from the case has been immense. The Point, a scholarship-granting group based in Los Angeles, has announced a scholarship in Clementi’s memory.

The Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Youth Orchestra, where Clementi, a violinist, had been a member, have had performances in his memory and named concertmaster chairs after him.

His parents say they are also starting a foundation that would raise public awareness of bullying, assist vulnerable young people and encourage research and awareness of the effects of electronic media.

Rutgers has decided to allow men and women to be roommates in parts of certain dorms — largely as a way to make gay, lesbian and transgender students more comfortable.

And celebrities from President Barack Obama to entertainer Ellen DeGeneres have campaigned publicly against bullying.

—  John Wright

Tyler Clementi’s Parents Will Sue Rutgers University Over Suicide

Tyler Clementi's parents Joseph and Jane have filed notice they plan on suing Rutgers University for failing to protect their son over "unlawful or otherwise improper acts perpetrated against." Tyler jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge in September after his dormmate broadcast an intimate encounter to the web. According to the notice, "It appears Rutgers University failed to act, failed to put in place and/or failed to implement, and enforce policies and practices that would have prevented or deterred such acts, and that Rutgers failed to act timely and appropriately." While no proposed dollar amount is listed, the Clementis cite their suffering, loss of companionship and support, and their financial costs. Should we assume a lawsuit against his two alleged perpetrators is en route?


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Queerty

—  admin

Lawyers For Students Who Broadcast Tyler Clementi’s Intimate Encounter Claim No Sexual Contact On Webcam Video

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Lawyers and friends of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, the two former Rutgers students (they both withdrew from the school late last week) who filmed Tyler Clementi's intimate encounter with another man intimate before the freshman student took his own life, have announced that there was no sex or nudity involved in the webcam broadcast. They also claim that the video was only viewed from one computer: Wei's.

The Star-Ledger reports:

"I’m unaware of any evidence of sexual contact," said Rubin Sinins, Wei’s attorney. "The statute defining sexual contact refers to nudity and private parts, and, to my knowledge, nothing like that was seen. I’m also unaware of any evidence that any video was recorded, reproduced or disseminated in any way." Law enforcement officials declined to discuss the case because it is still under investigation. Prosecutors are considering whether to upgrade the charges against Ravi and Wei to bias crimes because Clementi was gay.

The article also includes accounts from friends of the duo: "She said, 'Dharun came in to my room and turned on my computer to web chatting. We watched for two minutes," said Sean Yan, 18, a longtime friend. Wei told friends she saw Clementi and a male visitor kissing. She described the visitor as 'kind of sketchy,' with ragged clothes and a scruffy beard, Yan said. Later on the night of Sept. 19, Ravi used his Twitter account to tell friends that he and Wei had seen his roommate 'making out with a dude.' The feed went out to Ravi’s nearly 150 Twitter followers."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Rutgers school paper is pissed off that Tyler Clementi’s death actually meant something

It’s attitudes like the one in this editorial that lead gay youth to not feel secure. Yes, God forbid that one young man’s death actually leads to a push for a more gay-inclusive, gay-accepting, society.

Big ass editorial in the Rutgers school paper, the Daily Targum, about how upset the paper is that Tyler Clementi’s recent decent has to led to an outcry about the recent spate of gay youth suicides nationwide. Here’s a taste of the editorial:

The death of University student Tyler Clementi might have been properly mourned if it were not for the massive rallies and aggressive news coverage that altered the nature of the situation. The truth is that an 18-year-old boy killed himself – he was a student just like the rest of us, someone just trying to receive an education. Yet people’s relentless agendas took his death and turned it into a cause based on false pretenses.

We did not know Tyler. It was barely three weeks into his first year at the University, and most of his neighbors in his residence hall barely knew him. Turning his death into a push for gay rights is a fallacy. Homosexuality is not the only reason for which people kill themselves. In this case, it might have pushed Clementi over the edge, but the fact that he was gay should by no means turn his death into a march for safe spaces. These groups want to be heard. They want the attention. They want their agendas to shine in the limelight.

Let me take a wild guess. The editorial writer is a conservative, straight, and a guy.

As for those horrible activists “wanting their agendas to shine in the limelight”… man what an asshole.  I nearly forgot what it was like to be in college, and to have a Republican man-child writing for the school paper.

What Republican man-child doesn’t get is that had Tyler been straight, had he been filmed having sex with a girl, and had that film made its way online, he might have been freaked, he might have even still committed suicide – maybe.  But the chances are much greater of all that happening when the victim is gay.

When you’re straight and the boys in college see a vid of you screwing a girl, you’re the BMOC.  When you’re a fag and it happens, the entire school mocks you, points at you, and laughs.  It’s just not funny when a guy f-cks a girl.  It’s funny as hell when a dude does it to another dude and the entire world gets to watch, and laugh.

And what about your parents?  Has GOP man-child come out to his parents as straight?  How about to his aunts and uncles, to his cousins, to his childhood friends, to the people on his floor, to the lady at the front desk of his dorm, and to the guy he buys his coffee from on the way to class (let alone every single stranger he sees on his way to class)?  I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that after having been filmed having sex, straight kids don’t need to worry about coming out as “straight” to every single human being they’re going to see for the next few months, if not years.  Gay kids do.  And while straight kids won’t be berated, beaten up, killed, and disowned for being straight – gay kids will.

That’s why what happened to Tyler was such a big deal to so many people across the country.  They could relate.  They could relate to the shame, the embarrassment, the mockery, and ultimately the feeling that you just can’t go on.  Those feelings don’t usually come from being straight.  They come far too often from being gay.

What a lame ass editorial for a school paper to be writing at a school where a kid just killed himself.  How about welcoming the awareness that’s been raised as a result of this death?  The small good that might come from something so bad.

And finally, if the jerk who wrote this editorial thinks that the national attention, sorrow, and rage has been orchestrated by organizations with an agenda, well, then he’s not a very good reporter either.  123,959 people haven’t joined this Facebook page because some activist organization told them to.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

@ActuallyNPH, @BrittanySnow ‘belittling’ Clementi’s death, says issue-belittling Rutgers editorial

The editorial board of Rutgers’ campus newspaper, The Daily Targum, could’ve responded to Tyler Clementi’s tragic story in any number of sensitive ways. They could have seized onto their heightened responsibility to make sense of this senseless situation in a way that doesn’t make people feel bad for expressing honest human emotions. They might have used the media spotlight that is currently on their campus to craft a teachable moment for colleges nationwide.

Instead, they chose to say things like this:

It is disappointing that everyone from news to celebrities picked up the story. Actress Brittany Snow and actor Neil Patrick-Harris are just two of the many celebrities belittling Clementi’s Screen Shot 2010-10-05 At 5.30.21 Pmdeath – forcing his remembrance into a cause rather than a proper mourning.

We did not know Tyler. It was barely three weeks into his first year at the University, and most of his neighbors in his residence hall barely knew him. Turning his death into a push for gay rights is a fallacy. Homosexuality is not the only reason for which people kill themselves. In this case, it might have pushed Clementi over the edge, but the fact that he was gay should by no means turn his death into a march for safe spaces. These groups want to be heard. They want the attention. They want their agendas to shine in the limelight.

FULL EDITORIAL: Media exploits University tragedy [The Daily Targum]

Yep, blame the distraught gays and allies who understand the pain that so many gay youth still feel (and that Tyler himself seems to have expressed on a web forum), Targum staffers. That’s surely helping things. Really.

Though just for the sake of argument, Targum staffers: Perhaps you might wanna take a second and consider that maybe people like Neil Patrick Harris and groups like your gay student unions are speaking out in such passionates way not because they want homo-centric attention or because have gay “agendas,” but rather because they’re sick of there being a need for their sexualities to hold any heightened focus! Just a suggestion.




Good As You

—  John Wright

My take on Tyler Clementi’s suicide

I’ve written a longer post on the main AMERICAblog home page, since I think this is a story that needs to go far beyond a gay audience. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote:

Gay civil rights isn’t a “social issue.” It’s our lives. A lot of us, myself included, grew up thinking we’d never see the age of 30 because we’d have to kill ourselves once people found out we were gay. A lot of people have no idea how hard it is to grow up being gay. To grow up thinking God made you wrong. Thinking you will never find love. Thinking your own family and friends will disown you once they know who you really are. And hearing the President of the United States – one of the “good” guys – say that you don’t deserve the right to marry the person you love.

And when politicians make promises to us, break promises to us, then lecture us to “stop whining” because the other guy would hurt us even worse, it really hits a raw nerve. It suggests that they don’t think our struggle is a struggle. They don’t think it’s as important as the “important” issues the country faces. It tells us that they think we’re just another special interest, no different than the corporate lobbyist trying to get another tax break.

Until kids like Tyler Clementi stop killing themselves, we will continue to whine. We’ll whine about bad politicians who try to pass legislation hurting us, and “good” politicians who say the right thing, but can’t seem to find the time to fit our civil rights into their busy schedules.

We can’t wait any longer. And we won’t.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright