N.J. Student Secretly Taped Having Sex in Dorm Posted Suicide Plunge Message on Facebook

  • Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, 18, is seen in an undated photo posted to his Facebook page

    Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, 18, is seen in an undated photo posted to his Facebook page

  • Clementi, a gifted violinist, is seen in a photo posted to a Facebook page created in his honor

    Clementi, a gifted violinist, is seen in a photo posted to a Facebook page created in his honor

  • Star-Ledger Photograph/Star-Ledger, NJ

    Star-Ledger Photograph/Star-Ledger, NJ

A New Jersey college student, who police believe was secretly -- and illegally -- filmed in a dorm sexual encounter, indicated on Facebook that he planned to jump off a prominent New York City bridge before he took his own life, the Star-Ledger reported online.

A family lawyer confirmed Wednesday that 18-year-old Tyler Clementi killed himself by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. The attorney, Paul Mainardi, said Clementi was "a fine young man and a distinguished musician."

Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, changed his Facebook status to "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry" on Sept. 22, the Star-Ledger reported, though his full profile isn't public so that couldn't be independently confirmed.

A spokeswoman for the New York City Police Harbor Unit confirmed to that a male body was pulled from the waters off Manhattan's northern tip on Wednesday. Police are waiting for the medical examiner to make a positive identification.

A law enforcement official says Clementi's license and Rutgers University ID were found in a wallet left on the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22 after two witnesses saw him jump at around 8:50 p.m.

Clementi was allegedly taped by two classmates during a "sexual encounter" inside his college dorm room. Rutgers students Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei were charged last week with illegally taping another student having sex and posting the images on the Internet.

The Middlesex County, N.J., prosecutor's office charged the pair with invasion of privacy for allegedly placing a camera inside the student's dorm room.

Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick said in a statement Wednesday that the school was "profoundly saddened" by news of Clementi's suicide.

"While I did not have the privilege of knowing this young man, I have learned that in addition to his academic abilities, he was a gifted musician," McCormick said. "Our university community feels the pain of his loss, and I know there is anger and outrage about these events."

McCormick said that the Rutgers University Police Department is investigating the alleged taping incident and said two university students -- whom he did not name -- were charged with invasion of privacy.

"If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity," McCormick said, though he added that "the students -- like all who are accused of a crime -- must be presumed innocent until proven guilty."

Ravi, of Plainsboro, N.J., was released on $25,000 bail Tuesday. Wei, of Princeton, N.J., was released on her own recognizance Monday.

Middlesex County prosecutor Bruce Kaplan told the Star-Ledger that the two used the camera to view and transmit a live image of the student on Sept. 19. Ravi is charged with two additional counts of invasion of privacy for allegedly trying to transmit another encounter involving the same student on Sept. 21, according to the newspaper.

The New York Daily News reports that the alleged tape -- streamed live over the Internet -- showed Clementi engaged in a sexual encounter with another man.

Ravi's now defunct Twitter feed reportedly contained messages about his use of iChat, a messaging service that allows for the live-streaming of video. 

He reportedly posted on his Twitter account on Sept. 19: "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 wrote, according to the Star-Ledger.

"Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 to 12. Yes it's happening again," he reportedly tweeted again on Sept. 22. 

An investigation reportedly began after someone alerted the campus police that the camera had been placed in the student's dorm room without permission. The tip then led to the arrest of Wei and Ravi.

Clementi, a gifted violinist who received a scholarship from the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, was described by his fellow musicians as "kind" and "sensitive." 

"Tyler was an absolute wonderful person," Donna Dixon, the orchestra's personnel manager, said in an interview with

"We couldn’t have had a better person," she said. "He was the model player."

As of Thursday morning, nearly 15,000 people had joined a Facebook group created in honor of Clementi -- with members expressing outrage over the alleged secret taping believed to have led to his suicide.

"The sad, tragic, horrible acts that occurred in the final days of this poor boy's life are inhumane," one member posted on the site. 

"That a young man ... (with) such musical gifts should be driven senselessly to suicide is ...unconscionable," wrote another. 

Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, said in a statement that his group considers Clementi's death a hate crime.

"We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind," Goldstein said. "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."

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Click here to read more on this story from The Star-Ledger's Cristina Corbin and the Associated Press contributed to this report