The parents of a US student who committed suicide after being taped having sex say they want his roommate prosecuted but not punished “harshly”.

Jane and Joseph Clementi say they want Dharun Ravi’s alleged behaviour to be recognised as a criminal breach of the law, rather than a “college prank”.

But they told the Newark Star-Ledger that they did not want the student to receive a “harsh punishment”.

Their son Tyler killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey last September.

The Rutgers University student, 18, apparently discovered that Mr Ravi and another student, Molly Wei, had switched on a remote webcam in his room while he was having sex with a man.

Prosecutors say the pair watched the video and attempted to record Mr Clementi having sex on another occasion.

Mr and Mrs Clementi said in a statement: “We feel it is important to establish accountability and to further establish that Tyler was subject to criminal acts, not merely a college prank as some may argue.

They said they hoped the case against Mr Ravi would conclude soon. The statement did not mention Ms Wei.

“We have received overwhelming kindness and support from friends, neighbours, our church family and many good people who do not even know us — through cards, letters, calls, flowers, food and prayers,” the couple added.

Mr Ravi and Ms Wei have both been charged with invasion of privacy, charges they deny. They have left campus and it is not known whether they have enrolled at other universities.

Mr Clementi’s family have set up a foundation in his name, which will help victims of cyber-bullying.