Archive Page - 08/16/13 40 years, 2,168 covers and 54,870 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Gone With the Wind Turns 75 (PHOTOS)
- Read the Cover Story: Family and Friends Remember Robin Williams
- Nick Jonas Surprises Fans at FAO Schwarz with a Casual Performance of Jealous on the Big Piano
- FROM TIME: Thinking About a Trip to Cuba? 5 Things You Should Know
- Elizabeth Olsen Chops Off Her Hair; the Year of the Bob Continues
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Thursday December 18, 2014 02:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 18, 2010
- Vol. 74
- No. 14
Tormented to Death?
Tyler Clementi, a Gifted Musician, Killed Himself After His College Roommate Streamed Video That Outed Him as Gay. But Was His Tragic Death a Hate Crime-or a Prank Gone Horribly Wrong?
Clementi did not get to play late on Sept. 22; instead he drove to the George Washington Bridge and jumped into the Hudson River. The tragedy of his suicide, at 18, has affected people around the world because of what preceded it: Just three days earlier, his freshman roommate at New Jersey's Rutgers University, Dharun Ravi, 18, allegedly webcammed Clementi in an encounter with a man in their dorm room and streamed it live. Authorities have charged Ravi and another student-Molly Wei, 18, whose computer Ravi allegedly used-with invasion of privacy, which could lead to five years in prison. (The prosecutor is considering adding hate crime charges, which carry a maximum 10-year sentence but said Oct. 4 there may not be enough evidence.) What officials and friends are struggling to answer: Was this cold blooded cyber-bullying or a dumb prank with awful, unforeseen consequences? "It's not clear Mr. Ravi was motivated to harm Tyler because he was gay," says former federal prosecutor Henry Klingeman. "But given the suicide and the attention, I'm certain the prosecutor will seek prison time."
The harassment Clementi may have felt is all too common. A 2005 Harris poll found 90 percent of gay and lesbian teens say they've been bullied in the past year. And nearly two-thirds of these students feel unsafe in school, according to a 2009 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. In September alone, three other teens took their own lives after homophobic taunting (see box). Still, the actions that may have prompted Clementi to kill himself seem particularly heartless, and they have touched a nerve across the country, sparking a national conversation on bullying and prompting talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to declare, "Something must be done." Clementi's mother, father and two brothers "are devastated," says Emanuel Sosinsky, president of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, with which Clementi played. "They were always so supportive of him."
Clementi may not have had a big circle of friends, but he made an impression on the ones he had. "When I felt isolated, he showed me an immense amount of compassion," says Morgan Knight. Clementi dazzled conductors and fellow violinists with his technique. But if he shared his musical gifts with the world, he kept his personal life hidden. "He was, as far as I know, completely in the closet," says Knight. Clementi once called himself "practically asexual" in postings on the Internet message board JustUsBoys.com; there, he said, "I honestly don't think people are mature enough to be having sex prior to collegeish years."
On Sept. 19 Clementi invited a man to his dorm room. Clementi "asked for the room till midnight," Ravi tweeted that evening. "I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw [Clementi] making out with a dude. Yay." According to someone close to Wei, several students came to her room to watch. Two days later Ravi tweeted he was going to secretly webcam Clementi again and share it with his Internet chat group. "Video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12," he tweeted. "It's happening again."
By then Clementi had learned about the webcam and shut it down. He discussed the matter on the Internet forum and possibly with a resident adviser. "I'm kinda pissed," he wrote in a Sept. 21 post entitled "college roommate spying." Even so, he didn't seem overly distraught in the message-board postings and even called Ravi "a pretty decent roommate." Yet just a day later, at 8:42 p.m., Clementi posted this terse status update on Facebook: "Jumping off the gw bridge. Sorry."
While Clementi's friends and family grieve, those who know Ravi and Wei-both popular, solid students-are stunned. Ravi "found irony and dark situations funny," says his friend Josh Rutstein. "He's not a monster." The outgoing Wei, a pharmacy student, "is one of the most caring people I've met," says a close friend. Wei's lawyer Rubin Sinins insists, "She did nothing wrong and committed no crime. There's not an ounce of bias in her."
Ravi and Wei were released while investigators keep digging into the case. Meanwhile hundreds of mourners held a vigil for Clementi on the Rutgers campus Oct. 3, and even those who never knew him seemed to sense his gentle spirit. "His parents lost a wonderful son, and we've lost a wonderful human being," says Emanuel Sosinsky. "His death is a loss to the world."
BEGINNING OCT. 4, PEOPLE AND CNN ARE PARTNERING FOR A WEEKLONG SPECIAL AC 360 SERIES ON BULLYING, AND A PEOPLE-CNN-CARTOON NETWORK TOWN HALL AIRING OCT. 8 AT 10 P.M. ON CNN
- Nicole Weisensee Egan/New Jersey,
- Diane Herbst/New Jersey,
- Charlotte Triggs/New Jersey,
- Lesley Messer/New York City,
- Joanne Fowler/New York City,
- Daniel S. Levy/New York City,
- Nadine Shabeeb/New York City.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!