Tyler Clementi's Family to Sue Rutgers University After Suicide

The family plans to sue Rutgers after son Tyler Clementi killed himself.

ByABC News
December 22, 2010, 10:24 AM

Dec. 22, 2010 — -- The family of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University freshman who leapt to his death after allegedly being surreptitiously filmed during a gay sexual encounter, intends to sue the school for not doing enough to protect their son.

The Clementi family's lawyer Stephen DeFeo said that Rutgers "failed to implement or enforce policies that would have prevented or deterred such acts," according to The Associated Press. DeFeo filed notice with the University late last week. A call to DeFeo by ABC News wasn't immediately returned.

In a statement, Rutgers said that the family has filed a notice with the university to ensure that the family has legal options in the coming months.

"A Notice of Tort Claim is not a lawsuit. There is a statutory period of six months after such a filing for the family to decide if they want to file a lawsuit," said E.J. Miranda, Rutgers spokeswoman, in a statement.

"We at the university share the family's sense of loss of their son, who was a member of our community," said Miranda. "We also recognize that a grieving family may question whether someone or some institution could somehow have responsibility for their son's death. While the university understands this reaction, the university is not responsible for Tyler Clementi's suicide."

This is not the first legal action taken against the university since Clementi's September suicide. In October, Rutgers was asked by investigators to turn over e-mails exchanged between the institution and Clementi.

The Middlesex County prosecutor's office subpoenaed the New Jersey university for the e-mails, which may shed light on whether Clementi had requested a room change prior to the videotaping incident that was a precursor to his suicide, officials told ABC News.

A user on a gay website believed to be Clementi mentioned on an online message board that he had requested a new roommate after being spied on with a video camera by his college roommate.

Two students have been charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly streaming Clementi's sexual encounter with another man, and the prosecutor's office is contemplating adding bias charges.