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Hundreds attend vigil for Rutgers student

October 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of people turned out for a candlelight vigil Sunday to remember a Rutgers University student who killed himself after his sexual encounter with a man was secretly broadcast over the Internet.The vigil was the latest in a series of remembrances for freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22.

His death was among others in September tied to anti-gay bullying.

"My prayer is that our act becomes something greater, that it becomes the action of something bigger," said Pastor Kevin Taylor, who was at the vigil in New Brunswick, N.J.

The 18-year-old New Jersey student took his own life after his sexual encounter with another man was allegedly streamed over the Internet by his roommate.

Hours before his suicide, Clementi reportedly posted on a gay website that he asked his resident advisor for help.

Clementi was one of at least five gay teens to kill themselves across the U.S. in the last three weeks. The deaths have provoked nationwide dialogue about bullying, and how gay teens are treated.

Openly gay singer Lance Bass admitted to MTV, as a closeted teen, even he used to bully gay classmates.

"I can tell you right now, when I was in high school in Mississippi, I was one of the first ones to jump on the bandwagon to make fun of a gay person," Bass said.

Just last month, a nationwide study found that gay college students experienced significantly greater harassment and discrimination.

"It is important to allow young people to come out and to find support and to realize that once you do come out, you're not alone," said Shane Windmeyer, the executive director of Campus Pride, a nonprofit that helps LGBT students.

Under invasion of privacy laws, the two students accused of bullying Clementi could face up to five years in prison, though hate crime charges could increase that sentence.


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