Victim of Secret Dorm Sex Tape Posts Facebook Goodbye, Jumps to His Death
Investigators believe the Rutgers student killed himself after being taped.
Sept. 29, 2010— -- A Rutgers University freshman posted a goodbye message on his Facebook page before jumping to his death after his roommate secretly filmed him during a "sexual encounter" in his dorm room and posted it live on the Internet.
Items belonging to 18-year-old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi were found by the George Washington Bridge last week, according to authorities. Clementi's freshman ID card and driver's license were in the wallet.
Clementi's post on his Facebook page, dated Sept. 22 at 8:42 p.m. read, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."
Clementi's body has not been recovered, but police have pulled an unidentified male body from the Hudson River just north of the bridge.
Paul Mainardi, the attorney representing the Clementi family, released a statement confirming Clementi's suicide.
"Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words. 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," Mainardi said.
Two students, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, have been charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy after allegedly placing a camera in Clementi's room and livestreaming the recording online on Sept. 19, according to a written statement by New Jersey's Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan.
A Twitter page that appears to have been operated by Ravi but has since been taken offline shows messages in which the accused student takes credit for the alleged videotaping of Clementi.
On Sept. 19, Ravi appears to tweet, "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
Ravi faces two additional counts of invasion of privacy for allegedly attempting to use the camera to view and transmit another sexual encounter involving the same student just two days later, said Kaplan.
On Sept. 21 Ravi posted, "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."
Clementi's lawyer said the family is cooperating with the ongoing criminal investigation into Ravi and Wei's alleged actions.
"The case is being investigated by the Rutgers University Police Department. The students -- like all who are accused of a crime -- must be presumed innocent until proven guilty," said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick in a statement. "The case is also being investigated by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under the code of student conduct."
"Rutgers is a community that is extraordinarily proud of its diversity and the respect its members have for one another."
A Facebook memorial group created in honor of Clementi already has hundreds of members, many of whom are fellow graduates of Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. Clementi had graduated Ridgewood this past spring.
One of Tyler's friends, Courtney Ayukawa, posted to the group's wall, "I will always remember everything from our preschool's Halloween party to your amazing musical talents. When you picked up the violin and began to play, it was as if everything just paused until you put it down again. We will never forget you Tyler. May you rest in peace."
Strangers have also contributed to the memorial page, one writing simply, "R.I.P from a stranger."