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Thread: The Tragic Story of Tyler Clementi, Rutgers' Webcam Voyeurism Victim

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    Dumb teenagers just don't understand or respect boundaries and the possible consequences of these pranks. I doubt they did it to be malicious, they just thought it was "hilarious". Ha ha very funny
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I blame "American Pie".
    I wouldn't. I blame the thoughtless assholes that did this in real life. The media gets blamed for shit all the time but people need to take responsibility for their own actions.
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    Dumb teenagers just don't understand or respect boundaries and the possible consequences of these pranks. I doubt they did it to be malicious, they just thought it was "hilarious". Ha ha very funny
    Yeah, that's the impression I get from this too.

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    I agree with AO, too. It's tragic that the guy killed himself and they are arseholes for doing that to him but I don't think they could have ever imagined their 'prank' would turn out like this.

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    Maybe you need to take the case that if EVERYBODY won't find it funny, it's probably not funny. I've had to train myself to not put everything I think is cute, hilarious or insanely philosophical on loudspeaker - because, in most cases, it's only funny to me. I don't know how these two putzes would have thought this prank would be funny to the person they were pulling it on.
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    I don't think they thought the guy would commit suicide, but I think they are extremely malicious people who thought nothing of tormenting another person for their own pleasure. I can't imagine they didn't think that their actions would hurt Tyler.

    Also, gay or straight, I certainly wouldn't want what I did in private to be broadcast on the internet. If something like that would have happened to me, I would have been devastated.

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    Be active, volunteer with groups like pflag, this is bullshit, it must stop.

    Fuck those assholes, this was beyond a prank, it was done maliciously, there is no good hearted laughter to be had.
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    Default Internet was help — and hell — for Rutgers freshman

    Technolog - Internet was help — and hell — for Rutgers freshman

    Internet was help — and hell — for Rutgers freshman

    Read any story about Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after his roommate spied on his homosexual encounter via webcam, and you arrive immediately at an obvious conclusion: The Internet is to blame.

    To put it more accurately, without the Internet, Clementi's roommate would not have been able to so easily do the damage that was done. Clementi discovered his roommate's indirect taunting because it was posted on Twitter, while the video itself was apparently shared via Apple's iChat. Clementi's own farewell appeared on Facebook.

    Yet as malevolent as the Internet has become, there's evidence that it also may have provided Clementi with the assistance he needed at times.

    During the period of harassment, Clementi apparently shared what was happening several times on a message board on a gay website called JustUsBoys, according to Gawker. In the posts, he revealed his roommate troubles, and received advice and encouragement from others on the message boards about how to resolve the situation.

    Online communication was not hard for Clementi; he clearly stated his frustrations: "I feel like the only thing the school might do is find me another roommate, probably with me moving out ... and I'd probably just end up with somebody worse than him. ... The other thing is that I don't wanna report him and then end up with nothing happening except him getting pissed at me."

    In the end, the help Clementi got did not prevent his suicide, but that's not to say there aren't many resources that people in his situation could use.

    Googling "suicide prevention" immediately pops up a phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, followed by links to that service and others: SAVE.org, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Suicide.org to name just a few. Closer to home, every university has its own suicide prevention service, though trying to find Rutgers' own suicide help online is not very easy.

    The stakes tend to be higher when trying to reach teens grappling with their sexual identities. According to a study in the journal Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, gay, bisexual or "unsure" teenagers are 3.4 times more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide (or at least report that they did).

    But for this reason and others, turning to the Internet is almost an immediate reaction for kids dealing with these issues.

    "I would argue that the Internet has been a lifeline for [gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender] kids," says C.J. Pascoe, assistant professor of sociology at Colorado College who teaches courses on sexuality, social psychology, deviance and gender, and who recently wrote a book about male sexuality in high school.

    "They can find desperately needed community there that they often cannot find offline. When I talk to trans kids, they often say it's the first place they learned that there was a name for how they felt!"

    Last month, in response to another suicide of a frustrated gay teenager, syndicated columnist and newspaper editorial director Dan Savage introduced a YouTube channel geared to providing hope for gay teens caught in the throes of their angst. The "It Gets Better" project features videos by gay individuals and couples who discuss coming out, dealing with family, or just how much better life gets as they got older.

    In his own video, Savage says, he and his husband Terry "don't dwell on the past. We talk mostly about all the meaningful things that are in our lives now, our families, our friends who are gay and straight, the places we've gone the things we've experienced, all the stuff we would've missed out on if we'd killed ourselves back then."

    But for every salve for troubled souls that the Internet can offer up, there are many razor-sharp technologies within even closer reach. And teens' sexuality — from nude photos to sexual preferences — and the volatility of youth can make a lethal combination, given the digital tools that are out there.

    In 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier was seduced by a boy — or so she thought — in an elaborate hoax conducted over MySpace by the mother of a former friend. When the "boy" dumped her, she hanged herself, never learning the truth.

    In 2009, an 18-year-old girl named Jessica Logan committed suicide after an ex-boyfriend distributed naked pictures of her via cell phone to classmates who then harassed her.

    Legally there's not a lot that can be done. If you kill someone with your car, intentionally or not, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter or homicide. But there's no equivalent for driving someone to take their own lives using more recent technologies such as social networks and cell phones. Though Megan Meier's persecutor was tried, Wired reported that she was acquitted due to the lack of a coherent prosecution that could nab cyberbullies without also locking up a bunch of innocent people.

    In this case, the use of Twitter and iChat that apparently resulted in someone's violent death gets the alleged perpetrators a maximum charge of "third degree invasion of privacy," which carries a prison term of up to five years.

    Attorney and Internet safety expert Parry Aftab, speaking to Matt Lauer on The TODAY Show, said that part of the fault lies with the simplicity of carrying out such cruelty as the webcam spying. "It's easy, and that's the problem," she said. "You think about it, it seemed like a good idea at the time, there's technology that lets you do it, and it's done." She said that while criminal charges may not filed, civil rights violations could apply in the case.

    Pascoe also laments how easy this type of harrassment has become: "I certainly would not blame technology itself for this type of harassment, but I would say that it poses risks for which we (as well as youth and young adults) are not yet fully prepared. The rapidity with which information can be diffused and the amount of people who have access to a given piece of information in a mediated environment mean that the consequences of technological based bullying and harassment might be much more grave than offline harassment whose audience is limited to those in the immediate vicinity."

    The trouble is, when something is so easy to do, it's harder to convince kids that it's wrong. The record and film industries grapple with the fact that downloading music and movies takes so little effort, it doesn't feel like stealing. Harassing people online, taunting them, even surreptitiously filming them remotely, takes far less effort than saying something hurtful to their faces — perhaps, to teenagers, it's not the same thing.

    In an ironic twist not lost on the media, this week is the kick-off for Rutgers university-wide "Project Civility." It will feature several forums on new technologies, including one slated for Nov. 3 entitled "Uncivil Gadgets? Changing Technologies and Civil Behavior." While it's easy for a cynic to smirk grimly and say that the seminar is coming a few months too late, it's more important than ever to realize that it is better late than never. If Tyler Clementi's death can serve a greater purpose, it should be to bring lessons in online civility to universities in all 50 states, and corresponding discussions in homes, offices, hospitals and courtrooms as well.

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    I hope these two are charged with anything the prosecution can come up with, including hate crimes, kicked out of school and ostracized for the sick bullies they are, and sued in civil court by Tyler's family, which financially ruins them for life.

    I wonder if Tyler's sex partner was also a student and if he's been identified? His rights have certainly been violated as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    Dumb teenagers just don't understand or respect boundaries and the possible consequences of these pranks. I doubt they did it to be malicious, they just thought it was "hilarious". Ha ha very funny
    It was indeed malicious:
    ma·li·cious   /məˈlɪʃəs/ [muh-lish-uhs]
    –adjective
    1. full of, characterized by, or showing malice; malevolent; spiteful: malicious gossip.
    2. Law . vicious, wanton, or mischievous in motivation or purpose.

    This son of a bitch had been tweeting since Aug that his roommate was gay. The victim had been online letting people know there were problems but he lived in fear of what would happen if he complained and the bastard roommate found out. It is not a prank to film someone in a sex act without their consent and to then distribute it worldwide without their consent for the purpose of showing that he is gay. It is a hate crime and should be prosecuted as such. Did he think the poor kid would kill himself? Probably not, but he was intent on making his life hell without any thought of the pain he was causing.
    You don't engage with crazies. Because they're, you know, fucking crazy. - WitchCurlGirl

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    Those two got a heavy dose of just what they were trying to dish out. We'll see how they like it now.
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    Prosecutor: Bias charges may come in webcast of sexual encounter

    From the CNN Wire Staff
    October 1, 2010 8:25 a.m. EDT

    New York (CNN) -- New Jersey prosecutors said Thursday they are determining whether additional charges, including bias, may be brought against two Rutgers University students accused of invading the privacy of fellow student Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after his sexual encounter with another man was streamed online.

    ''The initial focus of this investigation has been to determine who was responsible for remotely activating the camera in the dormitory room of the student and then transmitting the encounter on the Internet,'' Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said.

    ''Now that two individuals have been charged with invasion of privacy, we will be making every effort to assess whether bias played a role in the incident, and, if so, we will bring appropriate charges,'' Kaplan said in a statement.

    Under New Jersey law, a person is guilty of bias intimidation if he or she commits a crime with the purpose of intimidating someone because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ethnicity; or if the victim or victim's property was selected as a target because of the same factors.

    On the evening of September 19, Rutgers student Dharun Ravi is believed to have sent a message by Twitter about his roommate, Clementi.

    "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, 18, of Plainsboro, New Jersey, surreptitiously placed the camera in their dorm room and broadcast video of Clementi's sexual encounter on the internet, the Middlesex County prosecutor's office said. Ravi tried to use the webcam again two days later, on September 21.

    "Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again," Ravi is believed to have tweeted.

    The next day, Clementi was dead.

    Authorities said the 18-year-old freshman committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York. A law enforcement source told CNN that Clementi's wallet and cell phone were found on the bridge.

    The New York City Medical Examiner's office said Thursday that a body recovered a day earlier from the Hudson River is Clementi's. Spokeswoman Grace Burgess said the cause of death was ruled to be suicide by drowning and blunt injuries from the impact of the jump from the bridge.

    A mobile status update September 22 on a Facebook page purportedly belonging to Clementi said: "jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

    Ravi and his friend Molly Wei, 18, of Princeton, New Jersey, are charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy for the September 19 broadcast, according to the prosecutor's office. Two more counts of invasion of privacy were leveled against Ravi for a September 21 attempt to videotape another encounter involving Clementi, the prosecutor's office said.

    Both Wei and Ravi surrendered to campus police -- Wei surrendered on Monday and was released on her own recognizance; Ravi surrendered Tuesday and was released on $25,000 bail. Steven Altman, Ravi's attorney, had no comment Thursday. It was not clear if Wei had retained an attorney.

    If convicted, the two students could face up to five years in prison.

    Clementi's death brought anger from gay rights groups and support for the two accused students.

    Paul Callan, a professor of media law at Seton Hall University, said Ravi and Wei could face an additional charge if it turns out that the broadcast of Clementi's encounter was fueled by hatred of gay people.

    Details about Clementi's sexual orientation are unclear. Rutgers University student Danielle Birnbohm, who lived next door to Clementi's and Ravi's room in the dorm, told CNN affiliate WPIX that Clementi was gay. "It was obvious," she said.

    Ravi apparently tweeted a message on August 22, nine days before classes began at Rutgers. "Found out my roommate is gay?" the tweet, believed to be posted by Ravi, said, according to Topsy, a search engine that allows users to access tweets removed from Twitter. In that same tweet, the writer linked to a thread on JustUsBoys.com.

    On another page on JustUsBoys.com, someone posted a thread labeled "college roommate spying."

    The user dubbed cit2mo wrote on September 21, a day before Clementi jumped from the bridge, "so the other night i had a guy over. I had talked to my roommate that afternoon and he had said it would be fine w/him. I checked his twitter today. he tweeted that I was using the room (which is obnoxious enough), AND that he went into somebody else's room and remotely turned on his webcam and saw me making out with a guy. given the angle of the webcam I can be confident that that was all he could have."

    Cit2mo asked readers what he should do, including whether to get another roommate. Cit2mo also said he didn't want to report his roommate and "then end up with nothing happening except him getting pissed at me...."

    In another post, cit2mo wrote about his roommate.

    "I guess what he was doing was...he was in another person's room, with other people... and so I feel like it was 'look at what a fag my roommate is' ... and the fact that the people he was with saw my making out with a guy as the scandal whereas i mean come on...he was SPYING ON ME....do they see nothing wrong with this?"

    Several people who responded to cit2mo's post expressed outrage and said the webcam was an invasion of privacy.
    Cit2mo said he might talk with a resident assistant in the dorm.

    Cit2mo later responded that he had reported the incident.

    "He [the resident assistant] seemed to take it seriously... he asked me to email him a written paragraph about what exactly happened... I emailed it to him, and to two people above him...."

    That post came at 6:17 a.m. on the day that Clementi disappeared. It was the last message cit2mo put on the forum.

    CNN was unable Thursday to determine whether cit2mo was Clementi, but a laywer for the justusboys.com website said the posts were traced back to Rutgers. A label under cit2mo's name on the forum had been changed from "On the Prowl" to "In Loving Memory" Thursday.

    "To me, it looks like that's the guy," said Chad Belville, attorney for Colorado-based BluMedia, which owns justusboys.com.

    Belville told CNN the company will keep the posts on the site.

    "We don't want to cover up what happened. This is a learning experience. This is what gay men are going through," Belville said. "I hope we can reach out to some other isolated kids who really need some place to go."

    In a later statement, BluMedia said "Tyler's death brings national attention to the fact that anti-gay bigotry is still alive and well, even in our universities. While Tyler's death has brought focus to the abuse gay men face every day, countless others continue to silently suffer. We hope that this tragedy will open the eyes of any who believe anti-gay bigotry causes no harm."

    Rutgers won't comment on the chat forum because of an ongoing investigation, said Gregory Blimling, vice president for student affairs.

    Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick said the community was grieving for Clementi.

    "I have spoken with Tyler's parents to extend my own and the university's deepest sympathies, and we will continue to respect the family's request for privacy," McCormick said in a statement Thursday. "It is up to us at Rutgers to honor this young man's life by reaffirming, and living up to, our commitment to the values of civility, dignity, compassion,and respect for one another."

    The group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays cited several cases of young people it said were victims of hate crimes and severe bullying. "It's time to take a stand for youth, families and inclusive safer school laws and policies," the organization said.

    Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay and lesbian civil rights organization Garden State Equality, said he was sickened by this incident.

    "There are no words sufficient to express our range of feelings," Goldstein said. "We are outraged at the perpetrators. We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind. And we are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others' lives as a sport."

    But Raj Ardeshna, 17, a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, N.J., and a former classmate of both defendants, told CNN that the two were "terrific people."

    "To know that two intelligent kids could get caught up in something like this is shocking to me," Ardeshna said. "The only rationale I've been able to come up with is that they thought they were being funny -- but I really couldn't tell you.

    "Without a doubt they must both be filled with regret and are distraught over what happened to Tyler, and as cliched as it sounds -- they are both good people," Ardeshna said. "And they just turned 18 and they just went to college, and everyone slips up without understanding the consequences."

    Kirbi Marquez, a Rutgers student and a classmate of Ravi and Wei in high school, told CNN "had they known the consequences of their actions, they would not have considered doing this."

    "I'm sure they're bearing the guilt, they're both sympathetic people and good kids and they didn't mean for any of this to happen," said Marquez.

    He said he and others at the high school think they are getting a bad rap when, in fact, the allegations "are not a reflection of our values" while at the school.

    Parry Aftab, the founder and executive director of StopCyberBullying.org, said the two must have had an inkling on what might happen.

    "These young people had to have known the devastating effects of their actions," Aftab said. "And while they may not have foreseen death -- they had to have known how much pain that this would cause."

    Those who knew Clementi described him as quiet and an accomplished musician -- he played violin with the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra.

    Meanwhile, on Facebook, thousands of people joined memorial pages set up for Clementi, whose apparent tragedy began on the internet and continued to unfold there.

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    Rutgers Student Apparently Sought Help Before Committing Suicide

    By Liz McNeil
    Friday October 01, 2010 02:20 PM EDT


    On Sept. 21, the day before he committed suicide, Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi was apparently angry that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, had allegedly recorded him kissing another man in his dorm room – and broadcast the encounter online.

    Postings on the Web site Justusboys.com's message board, which appear to have been written by Clementi under the alias "cit2mo," document his feelings and actions in the hours leading up to his Sept. 22 suicide.

    "I'm kinda pissed at him," Clementi apparently wrote about his roommate on Sept. 21. "It would be nice to get him into trouble ... I feel like the only thing the school might do is find me another roommate ... and I'd probably just end up with somebody worse than him."

    "I mean aside from being an a–––e from time to time, he's a pretty decent roommate."

    While many questions remain, Clementi's apparent online postings, which seem to follow a realistic timeline of events, reveal a young man who was struggling with what actions to take next.

    In a Sept. 21 post, Clementi, 18, expressed his anger, writing on the message board, "the fact that the people he was with saw my making out with a guy as the scandal, whereas I mean come on...he was SPYING ON ME...do they see something wrong with this?"

    But later that evening, he wrote, "Revenge never ends well for me. As much as I would love to pour pink paint all over his stuff … that would just let him win."

    Final Hours

    On Sept. 22, Clementi logged back on to the site at 4:38 a.m. with an update.

    "So I wanted to have the guy over again. I texted roomie around 7 asking for the room later tonite and he said it was fine," he wrote. "When I got back to the room, I instantly noticed he had turned the webcam toward my bed and he had posted online again … saying...'Anyone want a free show just video chat with me tonight.' "

    Then, Clementi apparently decided to get help.

    "I ran to the nearest R.A. and set this thing in motion," he wrote. "We'll see what happens."

    In a post two hours later, he wrote that his residence assistant took his concerns seriously. "He asked me to email him a written paragraph about exactly what happened," Clementi wrote. "I emailed it to him and to two people above him."

    Later that night, though, Clementi drove onto the George Washington Bridge, parked his car and posted his final message on Facebook: "Jumping off the gw bridge. Sorry."

    He then walked a mile onto the span and jumped to his death at approximately 8:50 p.m.

    Clementi's body was found in the Hudson River and identified on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, the two Rutgers freshman, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, have each been charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy for "using the camera to view and transmit a live image."

  14. #29
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    The poor guy seemed so sweet and level headed and was so earnest about working through all of this. He had every right to want revenge but knew it was a cowardly thing to do.

    I don't know what he went through before this that this hatred pushed him over the edge, but the world is at a loss for the death of this sweet soul.
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    I'm curious about how the other guy (the other one who got webcammed) is coping.

    I find it odd that he posts that the RA was taking it seriously but then killed himself before the RA had a chance to help. He seems ok with his sexuality and was brave enough to reach out for help which leaves me wondering if there was something else that happened after that email to push him to suicide.
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