NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The parents of the Rutgers University student who killed himself after authorities said his intimate encounter with a man was captured by a webcam want his classmates’ invasion-of-privacy cases prosecuted, but they don’t want them to receive harsh punishment.
Tyler Clementi’s parents, Jane and Joseph Clementi, issued a statement Tuesday, six months after he jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.READ MORE: After More Than A Year, The Show Must Go On: More Broadway Shows Announce Plans To Resume Performances
“The past six months have been the most difficult and painful of our lives,” they said. “We have done our best to deal with the grief and pain of the death of our son Tyler, in awful circumstances while dealing with the crush of media attention, the pending criminal investigations and, of course, our own unanswered questions.”
The Clementis have not granted any interviews, but have released a few statements to reporters. The latest one was sent first to The Star-Ledger of Newark.
Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, and classmate Molly Wei are each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy. Authorities said that last September, they used a webcam to watch part of Clementi’s encounter with another man. Within days, Clementi killed himself.
Family attorney Paul Mainardi said the Clementis feel it’s important to establish it was not “a college prank.”
RELATED:Parents Of Rutgers Student Intend To Sue | Orchestra To Honor Rutgers Student | NJ Legislature Approves Tougher Bullying Law | NJ Lawmakers Want To Toughen Anti-Bullying Law | Suicide Prevention Focus Of Weekend Conference | Rutgers Suicide Case Poses Test For NJ Privacy Law | NJ Gov. Chris Christie Signs Anti-Bullying Law | NJ Hosts Conference On Gay Youth Suicide Risks
Gay rights and anti-bullying groups seized on the suicide and made it a symbol of the movement to take bullying, particularly of young gay people, seriously.
The charges against Ravi and Wei do not link the alleged spying to Clementi’s suicide.READ MORE: There Are Concerns Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack Could Lead To Higher Prices At The Pump
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has weighed additional bias intimidation charges, but no decision on those more serious charges has been announced. Mainardi said he believes the investigation is substantially complete.
Lawyers for the students, both of whom have since withdrawn from Rutgers, have said their clients are not guilty of any crimes. The lawyers did not immediately return calls on Tuesday.
The fallout from the case has been immense. The Point, a scholarship-granting group based in Los Angeles, has announced a scholarship in Clementi’s memory.
The Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Youth Orchestra, where Clementi, a violinist, had been a member, have had performances in his memory and named concertmaster chairs after him.
His parents say they are also starting a foundation that would raise public awareness of bullying, assist vulnerable young people and encourage research and awareness of the effects of electronic media.
Rutgers has decided to allow men and women to be roommates in parts of certain dorms — largely as a way to make gay, lesbian and transgender students more comfortable.
And celebrities from President Barack Obama to entertainer Ellen DeGeneres have campaigned publicly against bullying.MORE NEWS: Times Square Shooting: Hero Officer Alyssa Vogel Speaks About Rescuing 4-Year-Old Gunshot Victim
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)