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Plagiarists Tell CBS SUNDAY MORNING They Considered Suicide

Getting caught plagiarizing the work of others led writers Quentin Rowan and Jayson Blair to thoughts of suicide, they tell Lee Cowan on this weekend's CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH Charles Osgood.

Blair, who left the New York Times after he was caught passing off others' work as his own, and Rowan, who published a novel that turned out to be extensively lifted from other sources, each talk about the fallout of being plagiarists in a Cowan segment on growing plagiarism trend.

"I was on the top floor of the building I was living in," Rowan tells Cowan. "I just went to the window and thought, could I do this, you know? Could I actually jump?"

Plagiarism has been an issue since the early days of the written word. Recently, however, there have been a string of high-profile plagiarism cases involving books, newspapers and music, Cowan reports. He talks to those who have cheated and those whose job it is to catch them.

Rowan started out as a poet and slowly began replacing his words with smarter ones he found in S.A.T. preparation books. He moved into books with ASSASSIN OF SECRETS, a spy thriller published in 2011. Soon after the book was released it was revealed whole swaths of the book were clipped from other books, many of them James Bond novels. ASSASSIN OF SECRETS was pulled from stores five days after it went on sale.

Before he was exposed, Rowan says he felt like he had no options but to end his life. "I couldn't think of any alternative if I were discovered, except suicide," he says. He does admit there was a sense of liberation once it was revealed the work he said was his was actually stolen.

Blair, too, says he considered suicide when his fraud was exposed. "I considered killing myself. There was a point sort of the night before I resigned where I kind of picked out the place, and the restaurant, and decided, you know, that this bathroom was perfect, and if I brought a strong enough belt," he tells Cowan. "I remember scoping out the spot and just thinking to myself, this is just ridiculous, like, it does not have to come to this."

Blair decided against suicide and today works as a life coach. Rowan, meanwhile, has a new memoir out.

Cowan's full plagiarism report will be broadcast Oct. 21 on CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH Charles Osgood (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.

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