NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS 2) — The family of Tyler Clementi is speaking out for the first time about the heartbreak over their son’s death and their hope to save others.
Clementi killed himself by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on him with another man.
Clementi’s mother told People Magazine this was his “favorite time of year…so we’re trying to find a new way to celebrate Christmas. I’m sad and trying to get through this.”
The 18-year-old was a student at Rutgers University. He killed himself three days after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, allegedly used a webcam to watch his encounter with another man in their dorm room. Prosecutors said the video was then streamed live in an Internet chat room.
“It was a tragedy that happened, of course. You gotta hope that people realize that people are sensitive to things like that,” Rutgers student Ralph Cretella told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Ravi is charged with spying on Clementi, but not causing his death. He has pleaded not guilty.
The magazine interview came out on the same day the teeanger’s parents launched the Tyler Clementi Foundation. In a statement they said they’re doing it because: “We want to do our part to help save lives and reduce the anguish of those who are tormented because of the way they look, their sexual orientation or just for being different.”
“I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s exactly the solution that’s needed for this problem,” student Davide Quinn said.
The Clementis have spoken at news conferences, but refrained from talking about their son personally.
In the People Magazine article, Jane Clementi says “not a minute goes by that I don’t think of him.” Joe Clementi said he sometimes looks at the Facebook page in his son’s honor.
“I’ll read a few things until I get choked up, then I’ll stop,” he said. “Our family was devastated by Tyler’s death and we know that thousands of other families have experienced similar situations.”
Ravi, meanwhile, is due to appear in court on Thursday.
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