Message Board Community Pays Tribute to Rutgers Student
Before his suicide, Tyler Clementi often offered advice to others on a gay message board he frequented
In the days before his Sept. 22 suicide, Tyler Clementi turned to an online message board to share his feelings after discovering that his roommate had allegedly streamed his intimate encounter with another man.
Now other message board contributors are paying tribute to him.
“I send my deepest condolences to his close family and friends,” the administrator of JustUsBoys.com’s message board, who posts as Star Warrior, wrote, “and hope that JUBbers here will join with me and make this thread about remembrance, and not to speculate on the circumstances about his suspected death.”
While it was initially unclear whether, indeed, it was Clementi, 18, who was posting on the board, the moderator did confirm that the Rutgers student was writing under the moniker “citmo2.”
All posts involving Clementi have been shut down as well because of ongoing legal issues in the case against his fellow freshmen Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, who have been charged with invasion of privacy.
In addition to seeking advice on the board, Clementi’s postings reveal a teen who was allergic to dairy, eggs and fructose and had a preference for expensive fountain pens and a wireless keyboard. They also show a sensitive, thoughtful high school student, who urged one poster with suspicious bruises to immediately seek medical help and gave advice to another concerned about his 16-year-old niece being on birth control.
“Call me a prude but I honestly don’t think people are mature enough to be having sex prior to collegish years in today’s world,” Clementi wrote on Aug. 16, 2008. “Then again, I’m practically asexual, and considered myself such until about 17 (when I started puberty), so I guess I have a lot of bias on things like this …”
More Charges to Be Filed?
While Ravi and Wei have just been charged with invasion of privacy, due to the nature of the case and New Jersey state law, there has been discussion that they could also be accused of a hate crime should proof exist that they targeted Clementi because he was gay.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said Monday that he doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to charge the two with a hate crime, though their investigation is still ongoing.
“Sometimes the laws don’t always adequately address the situation,” Kaplan told the Newark Star-Ledger. “That may come to pass here.”
Henry Klingeman of Newark, N.J., a former federal prosecutor, questioned why Wei was charged in the first place.
“There s no evidence of Ms. Wei doing anything,” he said on Monday. “I’m very curious as to why the prosecutor is holding her responsible in any way shape or form simply because Mr. Ravi was using her computer.”
Rubin Sinins, who along with his partner Eric Kahn is representing Wei, says their client is innocent of any wrongdoing.
“I think when the actual facts are revealed, it will be revealed that Molly did absolutely nothing wrong and she committed no crime,” Sinins told PEOPLE.
Ravi’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
For more on bullying, see the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday, and our special week-long series with Anderson Cooper 360, airing on CNN nightly starting Oct. 4, along with a special PEOPLE-CNN-Cartoon Network Town Hall on Fri. Oct. 8 at 10 p.m.