Additional charges may come for Rutgers students

October 1, 2010 12:48:23 AM PDT
Prosecutors are looking into filing more serious charges against two college students, whose actions apparently drove a fellow freshman to kill himself. Tyler Clementi, 18, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, committed suicide after his gay sexual encounter was streamed live over the Internet.

There is growing anger toward the two Rutgers University students who secretly broadcast Clementi making out with a man in his dorm room.

More than 7,000 people joined the Facebook group, "Manslaughter Charges For Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei." The two are currently charged with invasion of privacy.

"It's an unspeakable tragedy and those people who helped to lead him to that bridge are going to have to bear that responsibility for the rest of their lives," says Gov. Chris Christie, R-New Jersey.

Clementi's body was identified Thursday. He jumped off New York's George Washington Bridge one day after his sexual encounter was streamed live on the Internet.

It apparently wasn't the first time. Ravi, Clementi's roommate, reportedly transmitted images of him two days prior -- raising questions yet again, about lack of judgment on the Internet.

"This is generational thing because people of this generation, college students and so forth, immediately go to technology," says Thomas Plante, Ph.D.

Plante is a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. He says with so many tools at their disposal now, tech savvy teens are learning the hard way that making mistakes can often have bigger consequences than for previous generations.

"Adolescence is not always noted for their best judgment and for managing impulses. It's just that in the old days, the damage was minimal," says Plante.

Clementi was a shy, gifted violinist. LGBT activists say as horrible as the web streaming was, his suicide was likely the result of years of harassment.

"It's never that one thing that pushes that person over the edge. It's usually an accumulation of a lot of things and then there might be one thing that pushes them over the edge and in this particular thing for him it's obvious that that's what happened," says Chris Flood from the Billy DeFrank LGBT Center.

Prosecutors are looking into whether bias played a role in this incident. If so, they say, they plan to bring the appropriate charges.


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