Possible Hate Crime Charges in Tyler Clementi Suicide?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

New Jersey prosecutors are looking into whether to charge two Rutgers University students with hate crimes in connection with the suicide of Tyler Clementi.

Clementi jumped to his death off of the George Washington Bridge last month, days after learning that a secret camera in his dorm room broadcast a sexual encounter between him and another man over the Internet.

Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and another student, Molly Wei, are already charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for allegedly setting up the broadcast.

But now, Attorney General Paula Dow said investigators are exploring whether they could charge the pair with hate crimes. Right now, they are not sure current New Jersey law would uphold such charges.

"I'm unaware of any case in New Jersey where the homicide statutes have been used to hold somebody responsible for somebody else who chose to commit suicide," Middlesex Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.

"Most importantly, I think we're looking at examining the facts," Dow told WCBS-TV.

Ravi and Wei could face up to five years in prison if convicted on the counts with which they are already charged.