Did 18-year-old Tyler Clementi—whose roommate live-streamed video of him "making out with a dude"—reach out for help before killing himself? A thread on a gay community message board apparently tells the story in Clementi's own words.
Clementi, a first-year at Rutgers University, apparently jumped off the George Washington bridge on September 22. No body has been recovered, but a wallet containing his driver's license and school I.D. were found on the bridge, and two witnesses said they saw a young man jump off the bridge around 9 p.m. Clementi's suicide came just a day after his roommate, 18-year-old Dharun Ravi, allegedly broadcast video through instant-messaging program iChat of Clementi "making out with a dude." (Ravi and another Rutgers student, Molly Wei, have been charged with invasion of privacy).
Not much more is known about what happened between Ravi and Clementi, and Rutgers won't comment, citing privacy. But more information might be available in a thread on a message board for gay men, detailing a story that matches with Clementi's exactly—and, per some further research, appears to be legitimate.
Update: Forbes' Kashmir Hill positively identifies cit2mo as Clementi, based on an August 22 Tweet from Ravi reading "Found out my roommate is gay," and linking to a thread JustUsBoys.com. The username from that thread—keybowvio, a name that also shows up on this Yahoo! answers question about Rutgers—isn't the same, but it seems reasonable to assume that Clementi was familiar with JustUsBoys.com, providing further evidence that cit2mo was an account he used.
Update 2: An employee of BluMedia, which owns JustUsBoys.com, writes:
JustUsBoys.com does not collect much information when someone creates an account and begins to post, so we cannot confirm cit2mo was Tyler Clementi. However, the IP address for cit2mo does appear to resolve back to Rutgers which reinforces the other evidence that cit2mo and Tyler are the same person.
Here's the first post (click to enlarge):
The first incident of Ravi's alleged voyeurism came on September 19, putting it well within the timeframe of the message. The use of Twitter and the remote webcam set-up are both consistent with the story as it's been told so far, as is the fact that "all [Ravi] could have seen" was Clementi "making out with a guy."
Two hours later, cit2mo writes:
Though not as bothered with his roommate's actions as he likely should have been, cit2mo is clearly disturbed by the disregard for his privacy—and the bigoted disgust—shown by both his roommate and the people commenting on his roommate's Facebook page "with things like 'how did you manage to go back in there?' 'are you ok?'" He says he'll file a roommate change request form, and "see what [the school] can offer" him.
He doesn't sound optimistic, though. When posters in the thread point out that the webcam voyeurism isn't simply bad roommate manners but an illegal activity, cit2mo writes later that afternoon that "the school really prolly won't do much of anything":
But the next day, when the situation continued, cit2mo decided to go directly to his RA:
cit2mo's last post on the thread was about the action he was taking with his RA:
Because Rutgers won't release any information, it's hard to know exactly what form the complaint took—assuming cit2mo is Clementi—and what the university would have done to rectify the problem. Either way, Clementi seems to have ended his own life just a few hours later.
Oddly, cit2mo's posts seem grounded and stable—if anything, too cautious about indicting his roommate for a clearly illegal and immoral activity—and not what one might expect from a suicidal 19-year-old. But they don't necessarily tell the whole story, either, and what's hinted at (in his second post on the thread in particular) is a general widespread approval of the roommate's actions, and disgust with cit2mo's. Being brave on the internet is one thing—facing a privacy-free dorm full of bigots, day in, day out, is another thing entirely.
Is cit2mo, in fact, Clementi? (Update: Almost definitely—see above.) It seems likely: For one thing, the story, as it's told on justusboys.com, is utterly consistent with the reported story of Clementi's harassment and eventual death. But there's more evidence, too: A cam4.com account for "cit2mo" (NSFW)—the only other cit2mo on the internet, according to a Google search—shows archived pictures of a young man whose, face, though partially hidden and blurry, shows a strong similarity to Clementi's.
The physical description for cit2mo matches Clementi—short red hair, blue eyes—and while the age (19) and location (NYC) don't match exactly, they're close enough to Clementi's actual information to make the identification likely.
If Clementi was cit2mo, it's nice to know he was getting advice from somewhere. But as good as the internet can be for support systems, sometimes it's not enough.
[Hat tips to Seth and Andrew]