About invasion of privacy... The case of Jason Clementi
Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010 09:47 PM
Suicide of Tyler Clementi
Facebook profile self portrait of Tyler Clementi
Tyler Clementi was an eighteen-year-old freshman at Rutgers University in Piscataway Township, New Jersey, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. This occurred after his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room was allegedly video streamed over the internet without Clementi's knowledge, by his roommate Dharun Ravi and a fellow hallmate Molly Wei, and after a second attempt was made by Ravi to record Clementi's sexual encounters. Ravi and Wei were charged with invasion of privacy.
Clementi, from Ridgewood, New Jersey and a graduate of Ridgewood High School, was a talented violinist, having participated in the Bergen Youth Orchestra as concertmaster and the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra.
Clementi had complained to his resident assistant and two other officials that his roommate had spied on his sex life and videostreamed it using a webcam. He wrote in detail on the Just Us Boys message board and Yahoo! message board about complaints he filed through university channels about his roommate.
His posts indicated that he did not want to share a room with Ravi. He claimed to have approached the dorm adviser and asked for a new room after learning about the first violation and then discovering Ravi invited his Twitter followers to watch a second sexual encounter. "He [the resident assistant] seemed to take it seriously," Clementi wrote in a post about 15 hours before his jump from the George Washington Bridge. He said in the posts that he also reported the incident to two unnamed "higher-ups." Clementi's wallet was found on September 22 on the walkway adjacent to the George Washington Bridge's New York-bound lanes after witnesses reported seeing someone jump. His car, cell phone, and computer were also found near the bridge. Police recovered a body on September 29 in the Hudson River just north of the bridge. It was confirmed the next day that the body recovered was that of Clementi.
While it has not yet been determined if Ravi's actions were motivated by Clementi's sexuality, the case has been considered illustrative of suicides among LGBT youtj relating to gay bullying or harassment. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network stated "there has been heightened media attention surrounding the suicides in New Jersey, Texas, California, Indian and Minnesota." Notably, in the same month, Asher Brown, 13, Billy Lucas, 15, Raymond Chase, 19, and Seth Walsh, 13, committed suicide, in each case allegedly due to being taunted about their homosexuality.
On September 28, 2010, the Middlesex County prosecutor's office stated that Ravi and Wei had been charged with invasion of privacy and transmitting a sexual encountet on the internet in Piscataway committed on September 19. Ravi was also charged on the same counts committed on September 21.
Wei had surrendered to Rutgers police in New Brunswick on September 27, and was released the same day on her own recognizance. Ravi surrendered to Rutgers police on September 28 and was released on a $25,000 bail. Prosecutors are considering whether to add bias intimidation charges as well, which would be tied to the invasion of privacy charges and could double the amount of potential prison time served by Ravi and Wei to 10 years.
It is a fourth degree crime in New Jersey to collect or view images depicting nudity or sexual contact involving another individual without that person’s consent; it is a third degree crime to transmit or distribute such images. The penalty for conviction of a third degree offense can include a prison term of up to five years. Recording a student on Rutgers campus property without their knowledge is a violation of the school's student code of conduct, and Ravi and Wei face the possibility of expulsion.
On October 4, the prosecutor in the case, Bruce Kaplan stated that he did not think there would be enough evidence to charge Ravi and Wei with a hate crime. On October 5, Wei's attorneys, Rubin Sinins and Eric Kahn, released a statement stating her innocence. Former New Jersey federal prosecutor, Henry Klingeman, commented that "There’s no evidence of Ms. Wei doing anything. 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."
On October 31, further statements were released by the legal defense teams. Steve Altman, Ravi’s attorney stated "Nothing was transmitted beyond one computer and what was seen was only viewed for a matter of seconds." Rubin Sinins, Wei’s attorney, stated "I’m unaware of any evidence of sexual contact. The statute defining sexual contact refers to nudity and private parts, and, to my knowledge, nothing like that was seen. I’m also unaware of any evidence that any video was recorded, reproduced or disseminated in any way."
Posted Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:36 PM
People are cruel creatures. Often without compassion. Without empathy. Without mercy...
I often hear this about children, rightly enough. But adults are not any less capable of it either.
It`s such a terrible waste. A waste of hope. Of promise. Of life it self.
I have personal reasons for being extra sensitive about stories like these.
I was an "emotional" bully when I was in my pre-teen years. Between 9 and 12...
There were a couple of kids I would victimize. Weaker kids. Not physically, just loners who weren`t popular among the other kids.
Namecalling and similar tactics were applied.
Teachers and even parents would confront me, but never hard enough, tough enough or seriously enough. I knew exactly what I was doing... I wasn`t at all intimidated by the weak attempts of adults to confront me.
Eventually I "grew" out of it myself. Why I don`t know. I just stopped.
This would haunt me though. It still does. The shame won`t ever disappear...
When I see or hear children acting this way towards others these days I always confront them. Not like the grown ups confronted me.
I do it with great avengeance. And it works. Taking the time to "really" talk with these "mental/emotional bullies is much more effective than just yelling at them. Sure, yell at the beginning to get their attention, but after that you have to sit them down and talk to them. With them. Very often that`s all they need. Not always, but very often yes.
In my early twenties I sought out the 2 "victims" of my pre-teen years. We talked. I told them how sorry and ashamed I was. That there really wasn`t any other reason than their inability to stop me. It was because I could. As horrible as that sounds it`s still true.
They both appreciated very much that we could talk about it. They were no longer "weaklings", but something like that doesn`t ever go entirely away. Certainly not for victims, and not for offenders either. Now whenever we meet we are friends. I have no words to describe how grateful I am that they were strong enough, men enough, kind enough to forgive me... That`s a "gift" they were in no way obliged to give. But they did. They forgave MY cruelty. My "crime". MY weakness.
The story you`ve shared with us here, Olive, and similar ones that we hear about every day, always reminds me of myself and my now 2 good friends.
....... I actually don`t know what more to say now... I`ll just stop...
Posted Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:33 AM
Posted Mon Nov 22, 2010 02:09 PM
Posted Mon Nov 22, 2010 03:44 PM
Posted Mon Nov 22, 2010 04:04 PM
I think I wouldn't know how to survive a breach of privacy of the
Here, in Belgium, there's this judge whose wife's masochist. He indulged
her, and they're a happy couple. People got to know and destroyed his
life. I'm making a long, complicated story short. Whenever I read about
him, I see it on TV (it is an old story), or something like, I cry for hours.
It makes me feel incredibly lonely and vulnerable. It is very depressing.
Oh, human cupidity!
Posted Tue Nov 23, 2010 09:40 AM
You're very right Vanessa! A lot of people don't understand that they cannot behave that way towards others. One thing is physical damage, which is clearly punished by the law; but another is emotional/psychological. So obviously, better laws are required especially with those people who keep behaving immaturely after they reach legal age.
Posted Mon Dec 20, 2010 07:23 PM
Posted Mon Dec 20, 2010 08:03 PM
yes, its mentioned in the op
Posted Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:06 PM
Posted Tue Dec 21, 2010 08:50 AM
Posted Sat Jan 15, 2011 02:54 PM