Rutgers Student Kills Himself After Roomate Secretly Live-Streamed Him Having Sex
Ravi, Clementi's roommate, has deleted his Twitter account since being released on $25,000 bail, but Gawker managed to dig up some of his cached tweets with the sleuthy help of Google. Ravi wrote on September 19th, "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." Two days later, if his account is to be believed, Ravi set up his webcam for others to view, writing, "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."
Middlesex County Prosecutor told the Star-Ledger that the investigation began after someone tipped off campus police that someone had hidden a camera in the student's room without permission. Wei surrendered to Rutgers University police on Monday, and Ravi surrendered Tuesday. Wei was released on her own recognizance, suggesting, as Gawker notes, that Ravi is the investigators' primary interest. Collecting or viewing pornographic images of someone without their consent is a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey. Broadcasting them is a third-degree offense, and carries a maximum prison term of five years.
Clementi is believed to have committed suicide by jumping of the George Washington Bridge last Wednesday. His car was found nearby with his cell phone and computer inside.
Clementi's sexual orientation, either private or public, is unknown at this point. Maybe he was in the closet, maybe he was simply experimenting, or maybe he was open but mortified by being unknowingly filmed. (His Facebook page, however, lists a single favorite quotation, from the Broadway musical 'Promises, Promises': "What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia...")
Either way, Ravi and Wei's simple prank, one enacted in movies from 'Problem Child 2' to 'American Pie,' was severe enough to result in suicide -- an ongoing issue for LGBT teens, who are four times more likely to kill themselves due to being bullied because of their sexuality. And, like other incidents of cyberbullying, such as the suicide of Megan Meier, this story affirms that technology and the Internet can be wielded like a mace, broadly and violently, when people don't stop to think about the consequences of what they post online.