Tyler Clementi's Family Hopes Son's Death Will Serve as Call for Compassion

Dharun Ravi apparently tweeted Tyler Clementi's sexual orientation in August.

ByABC News
September 29, 2010, 3:37 PM

Oct. 1, 2010— -- The parents of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi said that they hope their son's death "will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity."

"The outpouring of emotion and support from our friends, community and family -- and from people across the country -- has been humbling and deeply moving," said Joe and Jane Clementi in the statement issued by their lawyer. "We thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts."

The Clementi family said that the funeral services would not be open to the public and asked that people respect their privacy.

But at Rutgers, where Clementi had been a student for only a month, a public outpouring for the 18-year-old was already under way.

A moment of silence will be held before the nationally televised Rutgers University football game Saturday to mourn Clementi, who committed suicide after he was allegedly taped by his roommate during a sexual encounter with another man.

Many of the school's students had already paid homage to Clementi today with a makeshift memorial in the middle of school's New Brunswick, N.J., campus. Despite a pounding rain, students arrived dressed in black and left flowers and notes to Clementi.

A photograph of Clementi playing his violin quickly became engulfed with messages from those who knew the 18-year-old.

One friend wrote on construction paper left at the memorial, "Tyler, I wish you called me...people were willing to talk..."

In the days since Clementi's death, a series of tweets and Internet postings have revealed that Clementi's sexual orientation may have been an issue with his roommate, Dharun Ravi, from the start.

Ravi and another classmate, Molly Wei, now face several charges of invasion of privacy following what prosecutors say was a surreptitious filming of Clementi in his own dorm room, a recording that they then allegedly broadcast live on the Internet.

New Jersey authorities are still investigating the events that led to Clementi's death are trying to determine whether they can pursue more serious charges against Ravi and Wei.

On the eve of homecoming weekend at Rutgers, it's not the match up against Tulane Unversity that students are talking about, but the shocking suicide of a student who had been on campus for just more than a month. Students say everyone has an opinion on what should happen to Ravi and Wei.

One student who showed up to tell Clementi's parents that they are in her prayers told ABC News that she hopes Ravi gets "the worst...a long time in jail."

"He deserves to get a little suffering," she said.

Lawyers for Ravi and Wei have not returned messages left by ABC News but Ravi's attorney, Steve Altman, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that he does not think his client can be held criminally responsible for Clementi's death.

"To my knowledge, whatever the allegations are that justify the criminal complaints filed against the students, would not justify under either legal or common law any culpability for the suicide," Altman said.