Man With Tyler Clementi Says He Noticed Webcam in Dorm Room

Friday, March 02, 2012

The other man who allegedly had his privacy invaded in the Rutgers webcam spying trial took the witness stand Friday.

The 32-year-old man was identified only as M.B. His name is being withheld because he is the victim of an alleged sex crime.

He testified about having sex with Tyler Clementi on three occasions in September 2010 in the dorm room he shared with the defendant, Dharun Ravi.

Called to the stand by the prosecution, M.B., who appeared clean shaven and neatly dressed, testified that he noticed that Ravi's webcam, which was mounted on the top of his desktop computer, was pointing directly at Clementi's bed.

"If you were sitting at a desk and you're using the computer, that camera wouldn't be facing that way," M.B. said. "I noticed it because I was in a compromising position."

He also told the jury about a group of about five students who were watching him and staring at him as he left the building that night. "If it had been on the street, I would have asked them why they were looking at me," M.B. said. "But because I was a guest in that building, I just put my head down and walked past."

Ravi, 20, is charged with invasion of privacy, hindering an investigation and bias intimidation. The most serious charge, bias intimidation, carries a 10-year sentence. The prosecution must convince the jury that Ravi targeted Clementi because he was gay. 

Much of the sixth day of testimony was spent on the cross-examination of M.B.

Defense attorney Steven Altman grilled M.B. about every detail of his arrival and departure on the two nights in question, and about what he remembered about the building and the room. He mostly stayed away from any details about the sexual encounter.

Altman also focused on whether M.B. was clean shaven when he visited the dorm and asked him his age. Many of Ravi's friends who participated to varying degrees in the gossip about Clementi's visitor and webcam viewing said they were more surprised that the man Clementi was seeing was "so old" and "shabby."

Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge the day after the second alleged spying incident took place.

The trial will resume on Monday.


Comments [12]

Judith from NYC

There are a lot of people who do things a lot more hateful that don't leave an electronic trace and therefore can't be punished by law. Younger students have put up with worse behavior over a longer period of time that has no consequence for the perpetrators because it's all verbal.

Mar. 08 2012 02:18 AM
Robert Abrami from Palm Springs, CA

He's not a kid and what he did was more than stupid considering the consequences of his acdtions. The operative word here is "consequences" and homophobia and ridicule derserves punishment. Put him in jail and let him really see what his stupid thing really means.

Mar. 03 2012 05:38 PM
new jersey from new jersey

LET HIM GO FREE!!!! I feel bad someone died but ravi dont push him there are other ways of dealing with this. Maybe the parants for hating their gay son... or the school for not moving ravi 3 times ??

Mar. 03 2012 12:51 PM
Syncboy from New York, NY

I'm having a lot of trouble with this guy's testimony.

Ravi apparently had an iMac with an integrated webcam that is very difficult to see in daylight, let alone in the darkened room during a date. How on earth did he "glance over" and see a camera lens? I don't think he saw any such thing unless he owned an iMac himself. Also, if he thought there was a camera, wouldn't he assume that it was Tyler's doing and not the roommate? This doesn't make sense to me.

And as for the weird vibe he was getting, could it be because he was 30 and in a dorm full of 18 to 19 year old freshmen?

Mar. 03 2012 11:59 AM
Bkln df from Brooklyn

I just heard Ms. Solomon interviewed on the evening newscast by Amy Eddings, and it was an uneven interview; some of her reporting was sound, but some was not well thought out. Didn't she know to prepare for the interview? I was profoundly disappointed by the end of her report, when she said that technical witnesses would be called in the next few days, "but I don't really know what those are." What?? I'm not a journalist, I'm not a lawyer, but it took me less than 10 minutes on the internet to understand the difference between an expert and a technical witness. Isn't it Ms. Solomon's job to provide reporting and background? I look to WNYC and its reporters to a high level of journalism. Especially during a fund drive, that was a disappointing story.

Mar. 02 2012 06:02 PM

This guy is disgusting. His act of recording his roommate crosses a line and he deserves deportation and criminal charges. SCREW these comments about "kids doing stupid things". Someone died and this kid does not deserve to get off (no pun) on stupidity.

Mar. 02 2012 03:17 PM

"Stupid" is as bad an excuse for criminal behavior as "drunk" would be.

Especially since Dharun Ravi was intelligent enough to get into Rutgers, he was obviously not stupid; you probably mean immature, selfish, lacking empathy, lacking judgment. (He does seem a poor excuse for a human being.)

But do you really think those are reasonable excuses for criminal acts? Because there would be very few criminal convictions if we let people off the hook for those flaws in character.

Mar. 02 2012 01:48 PM

It's too bad school administrations and prosecutors don't take rapes this seriously! Then again the rapists tend to be good ol' white boys not Asians like Ravi and friends. Am I "injecting race" into the issue? Well, if it's fair to analyze through sexual preference then why not look at the racial angle? A Christian White has been victimized by a dark skinned Asian, Americans already have anxiety about Indians and Chinese taking over the top universities so this pair of Indian and Chinese "perpetrators" in the case plays right into white fear doesn't it?

Mar. 02 2012 12:12 PM
Steve from Manhattan

Sure, we all do stupid things -- especially when we're young. But Dharun Ravi is hardly a child and he isn't stupid. And, even for a child, stupid behavior does have consequences. Tyler Clementi's death proves that. Stupidity may explain what Ravi did, but it does not excuse it.

In a world where privacy is becoming an obsolete concept, have we already reached the point where it's already disappeared? Have we no expectation of privacy even when one has specifically requested it?

Tyler Clementi was not a public figure, a Kardashian seeking fame by broadcasting his sex life online. He was a bright, talented young man, exploring his sexuality in a place offering more freedom than the home he grew up in. His behavior wasn't hurting anyone. Unfortunately he became a victim of an unimaginably callous, cruel, and premeditated stunt by his roommate, someone he made the mistake of trusting. What sort of person does something that cruel to someone he LIKES? Would Ravi consider it a friendly gesture if Clementi had secretly broadcast HIS private sex life on the Internet?

Deportation for Dharun Ravi would be barely a slap on the hand. He has not shown the least bit of remorse for his hateful behavior which was undoubtedly a contributing factor to Tyler Clementi's suicide. He deserves prison time for his crimes. Perhaps he'll learn a lesson about privacy there.

Mar. 02 2012 12:04 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

Behavior that is immature and ignorant can still be criminal. Many "stupid and regrettable" acts of our youth are crimes, like this one.

Mar. 02 2012 11:06 AM
Dubya from Soho

I have to agree with John, and if you look back on your own college life, surely it's filled with stupid and regrettable things.

Mar. 02 2012 10:40 AM
John from office

Folks, he did not take the plea offered because he would be deported, not because he is arrogant. He is just a stupid kid, doing stupid things.

Mar. 02 2012 10:13 AM

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