Dharun Ravi | News | Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi's Date M.B. Takes Stand in Dharun Ravi Trial: VIDEO

Tyler Clementi's date testified today for several hours in the trial of Dharun Ravi, who is charged with spying on his Rutgers roommate and broadcasting it via webcam to other students, before Clementi committed suicide, jumping off the George Washington bridge in 2010, ABC News reports:

MbThe witness, known only by the initials M.B., was asked to read aloud texts he sent to Clementi, saying "What's up sexy." Under cross examination, M.B. admitted that their encounters turned to sex within minutes of seeing one another, that one of their three dates lasted less than an hour, and that M.B. never even knew Clementi's last name until he read about his death in the newspaper.

M.B., who is about 30, talked about noticing the webcam, and the prying eyes of other students shortly thereafter:

"I noticed there was a webcam, faced over in the direction of the bed. I just thought it was strange. Being in a compromising position, it just caught my eye that there was a camera lens looking right at me...I started walking down toward the end of the hallway. A group of people standing there were looking at me...it seemed unsettling."

Watch the ABC News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

More at ABC News....

Prior to M.B.'s testimony, a string of Rutgers students testified about the week during which the alleged spying occurred, disclosing that Ravi told friends that he had spied on Clementi's Sept. 19 date and planned to do it again during another date on Sept. 21. Ravi sent Twitter messages about the spying, and invited others to activate his webcam remotely to watch the tryst as well, the students testified. The students also told the court that Ravi had not expressed any animosity towards gays or towards Clementi.

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  1. Now this pisses me off: "Under cross examination, M.B. admitted that their encounters turned to sex within minutes of seeing one another, that one of their three dates lasted less than an hour, and that M.B. never even knew Clementi's last name until he read about his death in the newspaper." What difference does it make what kind of sexual encounter he was having? The judge shouldn't have allowed those types of questions.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 2, 2012 5:53:30 PM

  2. Also interesting that he didn't turn out to be the old, slightly overweight guy he was made out to be

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 2, 2012 6:40:59 PM

  3. im frankly stunned that such questions were allowed, too.

    it's the same old "was it romantic, were you planning a marriage down the line, or did you just meet for fleeting wanton gay sex" nonsense that's been around for ages, from the gays who "brought AIDS upon themselves by being promiscuous" to this b.s. right here.

    lordy, it's like that joan allen film "The Contender"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2012 6:49:30 PM

  4. @Mike, they're trying to dredge up as much "questionable" behavior as possible to introduce reasonable doubt by indicating that Clementi had some serious issues unrelated to being spied on and broadcast by his roommate.

    This is par for the course in rape trials, as I'm sure you are aware. The more they can blame the victim, the better the chances that the defendant will be found not guilty.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Mar 2, 2012 6:51:23 PM

  5. @Mike. Agree completely. In legal terms, it's "irrelevant and immaterial."

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Mar 2, 2012 6:53:53 PM

  6. I wish Tyler were alive. I feel for him, getting away from the self-centered mother, trying to express himself, hoping for acceptance at college
    I also understand that the lawyers want to establish the nature of the relationship with MB --- if he was more of a friend, he would be able to testify to Tyler's emotional state. It's not sensationalistic prying.
    Ravi is an egotistical jerk -- but I am bothered by the comments relating this to a rape trial. Freshman stupidity had an unintended consequence here. REAL violence against Gays is going on every day.

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 2, 2012 7:28:25 PM

  7. @Bob, huh? The rape trial comparison is apt when introducing the sexual history of the victim to try and blame them for their own fate. This is standard defense strategy -- grotesque, but not surprising in the least.

    You attacking his mother, on the other hand...

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Mar 2, 2012 7:43:16 PM

  8. I just don't see this as an anti-gay hate-crime. Tyler's roommate did something dumb and immature, yes, but homophobic or anti-gay? I think what the roommate did was criminal in that it violated the privacy of two people by broadcasting their sexual activity without their knowledge or consent, but I'm willing to bet Ravi would have done the same thing if his roommate had been gay or female. It was just a mean joke to him. He deserves punishment, but not for a hate-crime charge.

    Posted by: David | Mar 2, 2012 8:05:30 PM

  9. That wording, the "admitted" part, was written by someone at ABC News so it's they who deserve the criticism for the tone. I'm sure they did question him about the details of how many times they met, for how long, and what they did (in general terms) because that's factual information this witness can testify about.

    The defense will probably try to use that to prejudice the jury against Tyler, but MB's testimony also revealed the odd camera placement and the tense, awkward atmosphere he encountered in the dorm thanks to Ravi's voyeuristic snooping and gossiping. It was damaging testimony to Ravi's case.

    What I find most ridiculous is the silly claim that Ravi only used the webcam to make sure his iPad wasn't stolen. What, it's some new kind of 200lb iPad you can't just take with you? And why would the camera be pointed at the bed instead of at the iPad? It's an obvious lie that damages his credibility just on the face of it.

    Posted by: Caliban | Mar 2, 2012 8:06:15 PM

  10. I find this interesting because it shows the vindictiveness of the classmates and how they have essentially bullied Tyler to his suicide.

    Posted by: zeddy | Mar 2, 2012 8:18:13 PM

  11. He didn't even know Tyler's last name. One 'date' lasted less than 1 hour. just makes a sad story even sadder.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 2, 2012 8:25:51 PM

  12. Umm, I think that this story makes the perpetrator of this crime sound like an obsessed closet case. Why would you possibly want to watch your roommate have sex repeatedly unless you were fixated on it?

    I know that people will say, Oh to mock him. But filming someone having sex twice seems bizarre. That roommate clearly has a few issues. "Look, my roommate has a sex life! Let's all watch it over and over!" Very odd at a prominent school where most other students would shrug it off.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 2, 2012 8:53:19 PM

  13. is M.B. really 'Jason" and why isn't 'Little Kiwi' asking him for a web link or online profile....

    " one of their three dates lasted less than an hour, and that M.B. never even knew Clementi's last name until he read about his death in the newspaper..."

    guess Tyler's older brother didn't tech him much about 'ticks'.

    my guess is that Tyler's trick was not a treat when told about the web-cam incident.

    in the words of Bonnie Raitt: "let's give them something to talk about"

    or not...

    Posted by: my2cents | Mar 2, 2012 9:48:51 PM

  14. This would be a horrific crime even if Tyler had lived. The sentence for those who install cameras to spy on people in showers tends to be harsh and deservedly so.

    If someone's malfeasance results in death, it's like the difference between a fender bender and negligent vehicular homicide. It's a different category of crime, and how we approach it has been worked out before. It's not like they're making it up now. Sure, it isn't premeditated murder, but it sure as hell isn't a pie-in-the face type prank. Throw the book at this jerk. Make people think twice before they victimize gays.

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 2, 2012 10:00:26 PM

  15. I think the nature of the questions is part of Ravi's b.s. (IMO) defense that he videotaped because he was concerned about whether Clementi's guest would steal from him. Making the argument that this wasn't a trusted boyfriend, but instead an effective stranger (and non-student) might help his case that he "sincerely" (as if) felt his things were in danger and that, as a "naive 19 year old," thought taping the visit would be the best way to monitor them. Of course, all this is belied by the fact that Ravi POINTED THE CAMERA AT CLEMENTI'S BED...not at his own possessions or side of the room. But I can see how the questions would be permitted as part of the defense Ravi's side is putting forward--that the was simply protecting himself (however improperly) against a strange and unsavory character. But the whole thing is disingenous and disgusting. Sadly, I fear it may work.

    Posted by: LuckyLinden | Mar 2, 2012 10:31:56 PM

  16. Closet-case.

    I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before now.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Mar 2, 2012 11:14:04 PM

  17. So I guess Ravi's I Pad was being kept on Tyler's bed then. Otherwise he just could have pointed the cam to his own desk.

    Posted by: MKe | Mar 2, 2012 11:25:22 PM

  18. there's an astonishing irony in the prosecution of anti-gay bullies in school settings, while other anti-gay bullies are seeking the GOP Presidential Nomination.

    think about it, folks - Ravi being locked up wont' solve anything, really. won't bring Clementi back. won't end anti-gay hatred.

    it wasn't just Ravi that killed this young man - this entire Closet Culture of anti-gay prejudice and bigotry is what killed him, and is what kills all the others.

    we have religious and political leaders spewing hatred and lies about LGBT people from their pulpits. we have school officials doing the exact same bloody thing.

    i'm not saying Ravi is guiltless - i'm saying there's a much larger problem that is the core of this issue and it's on the shoulders of all of US ADULTS.

    we have a responsibility to be Out, folks. No more hiding. Are you an adult? Prove it. Open the doors for the next generations. Come Out to your co-workers, acquaintences, family members, friends, community members.

    stop putting off your adult responsibilities - saving your own hide from an 'awkward situation" only means that weight gets thrown onto the shoulders of a younger person who doesn't yet have the strength or life experience to know what to do with it.

    we're all complicit.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2012 11:37:57 PM

  19. Remember everyone, Ravi is not on trial for killing Tyler Clementi, he is on trial for a bevy of legal crimes including invasion of privacy. It is the thought behind the crime that is the real crime. Ravi simply went too far and stepped over the line resulting in Tyler feeling cornered, ashamed, degraded, belittled, destroyed and with no future. That's why you commit suicide.

    Does Ravi deserve jail time? Absolutely. And a long period in jail. He should also be deported upon release from prison. The penalty won't bring Tyler back but it will certainly deter other sick homophobic individuals from such future crimes. Won't stop them but it will deter them.

    And I agree. The judge should have stopped all talk regarding the sex. Immaterial in this case. I have to ask myself where was the prosecution's objections to such a line of questioning?

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Mar 2, 2012 11:50:14 PM

  20. Here's what MB's testimony really added to what is known, I think. He testified that when he left after meeting with Tyler the 2nd time (when Ravi and Molly Wei saw them via webcam) he got an odd "vibe," that people were watching him. He testified that while he was with Tyler the 3rd and last time he heard people talking and laughing outside, "It seemed like [they were] making jokes at someone’s expense..."

    The larger thing Dharun Ravi did was gossip about Tyler Clementi's personal life and spread the information around. In that atmosphere it's hard to say what someone might have said to Tyler, the comments they might have made. It's hard to know how much weight the jury will give to MB's impression of what he saw and heard but in my opinion he laid the ground for the "bias intimidation" charge. Whether he was personally homophobic or not, he gossiped about Tyler and made his private life the butt of comments and jokes. I think that larger perspective of what Ravi's actions did to the entire atmosphere in the dorm, making Tyler the butt of jokes and commentary, was missing before.

    I still don't think what he did deserves 10 years in prison, but it was more nasty than I realized. It wasn't really about what happened between two people, Tyler and Ravi, but the whole atmosphere that Ravi created with his gossip.

    Posted by: Caliban | Mar 2, 2012 11:50:32 PM

  21. I have to add that this case bugs me. The guy did not kill Tyler. Tyler took his life because he wasn't emotionally equipped to deal with what happened. That is hardly the same as his jerk roommate killing him in cold blood.

    I would have had a fight with the guy and demanded a new roommate. Tyler clearly had other issues, because his family has been quite supportive and it's not clear why he thought that being outed would be so devastating. He was at Rutgers. He knew that he had options other than death. He devastated his friends and relatives. He had a mental disorder.

    Oh, and this mysterious M.B. seems creepy. Clearly they were both in the closet. Mistake.

    What happened is a tragedy, but as has been said: just move the damn webcam. Even if there were no light indicating that it was in use, it belongs to your roommate and is pointed at your bed during sex.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 3, 2012 12:17:14 AM

  22. Some people asked why the prosecution didn't object to testimony on how quickly the couple started having sex. One possible reason is that Ravi is charged with spying on sexual activity and that testimony is damaging to him - it means he can't claim the web cam was shut off before anything happened, or at least makes that claim less credible. Ravi's lawyer was probably hoping that M.B. would claim that they got started very slowly as that could have been used to create reasonable doubt as to what Ravi actually spied on.

    Also, while a technical detail, the claim some of those commenting made that Ravi videotaped the encounters does not seem to be true - videotaping implies that a permanent copy was made, as opposed to simply watching a video as it happened.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 3, 2012 2:43:38 AM

  23. So, Paul R, anyone not willing to confront people like you would, assuming that your comment isn't just talk, should be just left to their fate?

    It doesn't matter what options he had or what course of action would have been better. What matters is what actually happened.

    Posted by: OddBet | Mar 3, 2012 5:02:29 AM

  24. I wonder how many gay students would have done something as drastic as installing a webcam over the bed of a straight student to find out if he or she were straight? I suspect, ZERO. What does that say about the moron Ravi?

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Mar 3, 2012 7:21:15 AM

  25. Paul R then why does the case bug you? There is ABSOLUTELY no charge that he killed Clementi. The charges are all related to the webcam spying, not the death.

    Posted by: Dev | Mar 3, 2012 8:05:56 AM

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