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Video: Rutgers suicide captures nation’s attention

  1. Transcript of: Rutgers suicide captures nation’s attention

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: This week's suicide of a Rutgers University student, the victim of a cruel and humiliating prank, has captured the attention of the nation. But the incident was not as rare as it might seem, and now there are increased calls for action to help young people when they're most vulnerable. NBC 's Rehema Ellis has our story.

    REHEMA ELLIS reporting: Today a moment of silence at the Rutgers University homecoming game to remember Tyler Clemente . The 18-year-old freshman, who was a high school honors graduate and a talented musician, killed himself only days after two classmates, one of them his roommate, allegedly used a webcam to secretly videotape Clemente in his dorm room in a sexual encounter with another man, and live streamed the images over the Internet .

    Unidentified Man: Those memories...

    ELLIS: In California on Friday, the funeral of another gay student who committed suicide, 13-year-old Seth Walsh .

    Mr. SHAWN WALSH (Seth's Brother): I just wish people would have been nicer to him.

    ELLIS: In the past month, at least five gay teenagers have taken their own lives, shocking deaths that have led to new calls for action, including this one from talk show host Ellen DeGeneres .

    Ms. ELLEN DeGENERES: My heart is breaking for their families, for their friends and for our society that continues to let this happen. These kids needed us, and we have an obligation to change this.

    ELLIS: Garrett Wedel was bullied the summer before he started high school after classmates learned he was gay.

    Mr. GARRETT WEDEL: I got text messages, like -- they were just horrible, like, you know, it was very depressing.

    ELLIS: Garrett became so distraught he considered taking his own life.

    Ms. ANGELA WEDEL (Garrett's Mother): He called me one day at work and he said, 'I'm in the garage, and I have a knife. And I don't like myself and I don't like my life. There's no reason to go on.'

    ELLIS: Garrett got the help he needed through the Trevor Project , a national suicide prevention hotline for teenagers struggling with their sexuality.

    Mr. DANIEL RADCLIFFE: If you're feeling helpless or hopeless, there's always a safe place to turn.

    ELLIS: Back in New Jersey , the parents of Tyler Clemente , who never got help,

    issued a written plea: "Our hope is that our family's personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity," a hope that comes too late for their son, who was supposed to perform his first concert with the Rutgers Symphony tonight. Instead, the orchestra is dedicating its performance to Tyler 's memory and leaving his chair

Data: Tormented teens


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