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Clementi’s story also became linked to the It Gets Better project—an online collection of video monologues expressing solidarity with unhappy or harassed gay teens.

The site was launched the day before Clementi’s death, in response to the suicide, two weeks earlier, of Billy Lucas, a fifteen-year-old from Indiana who, for years, had been called a “fag” and told vicious things, including “You don’t deserve to live.” That October, President Barack Obama taped an It Gets Better message, referring to “several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives.”It became widely understood that a closeted student at Rutgers had committed suicide after video of him having sex with a man was secretly shot and posted online.

The day after that, Clementi committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge.

Their youngest son, Tyler, had died a year earlier, and the family’s tragedy was the silent focus of everyone in the room.

That September, Tyler Clementi and Ravi were freshman roommates at Rutgers University, in a dormitory three miles from the courtroom.

Clementi’s death became an international news story, fusing parental anxieties about the hidden worlds of teen-age computing, teen-age sex, and teen-age unkindness.

ABC News and others reported that a sex tape had been posted on the Internet.