M.B.: Tyler Clementi’s lover testifies in Rutgers spying case
The mystery man who had a sexual encounter with Rutgers student Tyler Clementi testified Friday against the student accused of using a webcam to spy on their tryst.
The star witness, identified as M.B., was one of the last people to see Clementi, 18, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after posting about his suicide plan to Facebook on September 22, 2010, just days after learning his roommate Dharun Ravi, now 20, covertly watched them and others to do so too.
M.B., a man in his 20s or 30s who is not a Rutgers student, said he met Clementi in an online chat room for gay men and then visited him in the dorm room he shared with Ravi. The men had three dates before Clementi committed suicide.
According to The New York Times, M.B. learned that his encounter with Clementi had been recorded two weeks after his death when prosecutors came to his home. However, M.B. said he had felt “uneasy” during his visit to Clementi’s dorm room after noticing a camera lens.
“I had just glanced over my shoulder and I had noticed there was a webcam that was faced toward the direction of the bed, and I just thought it was kind of strange. Just being in a compromising position and seeing a camera lens — I guess it just stuck out to me that if you were sitting at a desk using the computer, that camera wouldn’t be facing that direction, it would be facing the person at the computer,” M.B. said during his testimony, according to The Times.
M.B. has been the most anticipated witness in the trial. His identity has been closely guarded because he is considered a victim himself. Efforts to protect M.B.’s identity were requested by his lawyer, Richard Pompelio.
Ravi is not charged in Clementi’s suicide, which was widely portrayed as a tragic example of bullying and the toll it too often takes on gay teenagers. He is, however, charged with 15 counts of invasion of privacy, witness and evidence tampering and bias intimidation, which is a hate crime. If convicted, he faces the possibility of 10 years in prison.
Students who lived in the same college dorm and have been called as witnesses in the trial described M.B. as about 30-years o-d and “sketchy.” Ravi’s lawyer maintains he set up the webcam because he was afraid that the man would steal his valuable computer equipment.