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Tyler Clementi’s Parents: Suicide Is Never The Answer

Reject Notion They Would Have Loved Son Less Because He Was Gay
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Tyler Clementi - Photo: CBS

Tyler Clementi (credit: CBS)

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RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Tyler Clementi’s parents are now speaking out about their heartbreak and healing after their son’s death. They’re also searching for justice for the events that allegedly led to his suicide.

More than a year after Tyler’s unthinkable death, his parents, Joseph and Jane Clementi, said their pain is still very fresh.

“We’re just overly sad by the situation, and of course sadness and anger are very close emotions,” Jane Clementi said.

“We don’t know why Tyler committed suicide, we truly don’t,” Joseph Clementi added.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

On Sept. 22, 2010, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. It was just days after his intimate encounter with another man was allegedly secretly recorded by his college roommate, Dharun Ravi. The video was streamed over the Internet.

Tyler Clementi’s heartbroken parents struggled with their loss and have stayed relatively private until now, reports CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“What we’re looking for is justice and accountability. It doesn’t have to be a harsh punishment — but acknowledgement of wrongdoing,” Jane Clementi said.

Tyler Clementi’s suicide came only days after he revealed to his parents that he was gay.

“I was watching TV in the living room and he pretty much just told me ‘mom, I’m gay’ and I was really, really surprised,” Jane Clementi said.

“I kind of get offended a little bit when someone would even make that assumption because of his sexuality that I wouldn’t love him just as much.”

Tyler Clementi’s parents have now created a foundation in their son’s name in an effort to prevent teen suicide, combat cyber bullying and to promote lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender acceptance.

“We set up the foundation because as grieving parents we realize that there’s no other feeling that’s worse than the loss of a child. And we don’t want parents to have to have the same kind of experience that we’ve had,” Joseph Clementi said.

Jane and Joseph Clementi said their road to healing is still long, but they hope Tyler did not die in vain, and that others will learn a life-saving lesson.

“People ought to be able to live their lives in peace and expect others to give them that peace,” Joseph Clementi said.

“Without judgment,” Jane added.

The Clementis said Tyler had reached out to a resident advisor at Rutgers for help, but university policy prohibited the RA from reaching out to his parents. The Clementis are hoping Rutgers will change that policy, so parents can stay involved if their children may need their guidance.

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