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Rutgers student's suicide reverberates 15 months later

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:07 PM EST, Mon December 12, 2011
Tyler Clementi committed suicide after being secretly recorded kissing another man.
Tyler Clementi committed suicide after being secretly recorded kissing another man.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tyler Clementi killed himself in 2010
  • "I don't understand how people could be so cruel," his mother says
  • Clementi's roommate is accused of recording video of him kissing a man
  • The roommate has pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges

Ridgewood, New Jersey (CNN) -- Nearly 15 months after their son threw himself into the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge, the parents of Tyler Clementi are waiting for justice and hoping for someone to say they're sorry.

The 18-year-old Rutgers freshman killed himself after prosecutors say his roommate secretly recorded a video of Clementi kissing another man and posted it online. His final message on Facebook read, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

"I know people have been very patient for us to speak because we haven't spoken, and I think that's why we haven't spoken, because we had to go through that grieving process," his mother, Jane Clementi, told CNN's Jason Carroll in an interview for "Anderson Cooper 360."

"It's a never-ending process, and it kind of ebbs and flows almost like an ocean. It comes and goes, and it's very overwhelming at times."

His father, Joe Clementi, said his son's online suicide note was literally unbelievable.

Clementi's parents: 'We don't know why'

"I mean, for a long time I didn't think that he had done that," he said. "I thought that maybe he was kidnapped or he had run away -- you know, all of those things. And when they found his body, then I was forced to accept the fact."

Prosecutors say Clementi was still trying to come to terms with his sexuality and was driven to suicide over fear of being "outed" on the Internet.

"I don't understand how people could be so cruel," Jane Clementi said. "You're in a new community, you're trying to make friends, and for whatever reason, someone feels that they need to be better than someone else."

Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, has pleaded not guilty to a list of charges, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and evidence tampering.

The friend prosecutors say allowed Ravi to use her computer to record Clementi, Molly Wei, has reached a deal with prosecutors and will testify against Ravi.

Last week, Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid jail time in exchange for community service.

"You want to know why he's rejected the plea?" his attorney, Steven Altman, said. "Simple principle of law, simple principle of life -- he's innocent. He's not guilty."

The Clementis say they expected to see the case go to trial, but the least they would hope for is an apology.

"I think it would probably help with the healing," Jane Clementi said. "I think I can work through it without it, but it certainly would make things easier."

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