Key Witness Testifies in Rutgers Trial
A key witness, known only as “M.B.,” took the stand today in the closely watched criminal trial of a Rutgers University student accused of spying on and humiliating his roommate leading up to the young man’s suicide. On two occasions in September of 2010, Dharun Ravi used his Webcam to secretly capture his roommate Tyler Clementi and M.B. engaging in intimate contact. Prosecutors allege that Ravi was uncomfortable with his roommate’s sexual orientation and purposefully intimidated the young man, a hate crime known as bias intimidation that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
M.B. testified to jurors that he noticed the Webcam while he and Clementi were kissing one another.
“I had just glanced over my shoulder and I noticed there was a webcam that was faced toward the direction of the bed,” M.B. said. “Just being in a compromising position and seeing a camera lens—it just stuck out to me.”
M.B. said that he and Clementi met in August of 2010 via a gay networking site. After initially chatting online, the two met in person in Clementi’s dorm room on Sept. 16. No spying took place during this encounter. On Sept. 19, in which the first incident of spying took place, M.B. met with Clementi again in the dorm and, according to his testimony, had sex. Two days later, he met with Clementi for the last time. On Sept. 22, after allegedly being made aware of the spying incident, Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge.