Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old high school freshman who was bullied because of his sexuality, took his own life Monday. Now many, including his idol Lady Gaga, want the bullying they believe caused his death to be treated as a crime.
The Amherst, N.Y. Police Department's Special Victims Unit has opened a criminal investigation into Jamey’s death, ABCNews.com reports. Capt. Michael Camillleri confirmed to BlogPost that the unit has started a preliminary inquiry.
“The special victims unit is looking into the circumstances that occurred prior to Jamey Rodemeyer’s death,” Camilleri said in an e-mail. “At this point it is too early to determine if any crimes were committed.”
Jamey was found dead outside his Buffalo area home Monday. He had family and friends who supported him, and was seeing a therapist and social worker. But he was a target of bullies, both online and at school.
“The bullies now are still walking around. They get to wake up tomorrow and go to school and see all their friends, but my son will not be given a second chance no matter how much I have prayed,” Jamey’s mother Tracy told CBS News. “I would have given my own life to turn back the minute we seen him.”
His father Tim said, “They have to somehow get the power away from the bully, and I don't know how you do that, and that's the biggest question in my mind.”
Jamey’s idol Lady Gaga expressed her heartbreak over his death on Twitter. The singer said she will work to “make a law for Jamey.”
Singer Ricky Martin, who is openly gay, joined Gaga’s cry for a law.
“Jamey's suicide is a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of gay teens,” Malcolm Lazin, founder and executive director of the Equality Forum, told ABCNews.com. “They are bullied and marginalized.
“While some may say that Jamey took his life, it is unrelenting homophobia that murdered him.”
There are a few recent cases of alleged bullies being charged with crimes. Six teens were charged in the suicide of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old student from Ireland who was bullied at her Massachusetts school. Five teens accepted pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal harassment. None was sentenced to jail time.
Then there’s the case of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself one year ago Thursday. His roommate, Dharun Ravi, allegedly watched Clementi with another man by streaming him with a Web cam and talked about it on Twitter. Ravi’s currently on trial for bias intimidation and other crimes.
Camilleri asked anyone with knowledge of specific incidents of a crime against Jamey to contact the department’s detective bureau at (716) 689-1393.