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CLOSET CASE

Why NJ Prosecutors Should Stop Hiding The Identity Of Tyler Clementi’s Man Friend

After former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi broadcasted his gay roommate Tyler Clementi’s sexual exploits over the web, Clementi committed suicide. But despite the media coverage of Ravi’s trial, Clementi’s sexual partner has remained a phantom. So why are the New Jersey prosecutors hiding Clementi’s mystery man-friend from this whole sordid affair?

Apparently prosecutors filed a motion this last week asking a judge to withhold the identity of Tyler’s man-friend (right he’s now known only as M.B.). But Ravi’s defense team says that M.B. might have information helpful to their case. So why the withholding?

Here’s some possible explanations:

1) The prosecution team likes having a secret piece of candy that it can use to deny and destroy Ravi.

2) M.B. is actually a closeted dude who has agreed to help the prosecution as long as they don’t out him into this horrid cavalcade of digital depravity.

3) M.B. is actually Dharun Ravi himself—TWIST!!*

* The nonsensical nature of this last theory makes so little sense that it would rip the very fabric of the internet (ie. Al Gore’s mind) were it true.

Timothy Beauchamp at AmericaBlog says, “I certainly don’t believe the unknown man has anything to help the defense but let them at him. In fact, maybe he will end up suing the defendant for invasion of his privacy as well.”

But while Mr. Clementi’s absence may seem enough to damn Ravi without involving M.B., in the interest of a fair trial, the judge should probably release M.B.’s real name and let the defense question him.

While M.B.’s testimony could hammer the final nail in Ravi’s coffin, the defense would undoubtedly try to discredit him to get Ravi off the hook—and that’s fine, but if we start denying witnesses to our opponents just to win cases against anti-gay villains, it sets a dangerous precent that could one day work against gay victims.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Sep 3, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 46 Comments
    • Troll
      Troll

      I still don’t get why such a distinct causality is being made between Ravi’s collegiate idiocy, a norm throughout the country, and Clementi’s death. The guy had depression, wasn’t being properly medicated, and probably was suicidal before any of this happened. If anything, Ravi should be charged for invasion of privacy – not murder, manslaughter, or anything else that ridiculously extreme. If anyone is to blame for this murder, it’s the victim himself.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gay Veteran
      Gay Veteran

      I don’t understand why Queerty tries to be humorous in an article like this.. it’s tacky and you fail miserably.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • VaJeena
      VaJeena

      Well Queerty isn’t well-known for being classy…

      Sep 3, 2011 at 1:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dlb
      Dlb

      @Troll – They aren’t charging him with manslaughter or anything that directly connects Ravi’s actions to Clementi’s suicide. The most serious charge is bias intimidation, which says that Ravi’s actions were meant to intimidate Clementi and were based on Clementi’s homosexuality, but doesn’t try to say that this directly led to his suicide.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in London UK
      Mike in London UK

      MB .. well its obvious.. it must be Michelle Bachmann !!!

      Sep 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Red Meat
      Red Meat

      It’s funny now but if this guy is outed, the chances of him committing suicide are high. He saw what happened to his sex partner and our brains… work in interesting ways.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Troll
      Troll

      @Dlb: But most people *do* believe that a cause and effect exists. Which is unbelievably frustrating. There’s a bigger issue here that the masses choose to ignore, or are too ignorant to realize. People don’t commit suicide because they’re gay. Or poor. Or get picked on. People who commit suicide have an underlying neuronal chemical imbalance – if one stressor is blocked from pushing someone over the edge, that isn’t to say that all stressors in a person’s life are eliminated thereafter. This whole bullying campaign in the US is admirable, but the general public are missing the point entirely. You attack the root of the problem, depression and its inherent sequelae, instead of placing the blame on others.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      I hope he pleads the fifth when speaking with Ravis defense and then files suit against him again for his own invasion of privacy. Would an actual live breathing human being be able to get Ravi incarcerated for taping him having sex without his knowledge. Methinks it is very possible.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      As a member of the jury i would never convict without seeing the actual tape that was made and transmitted.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jewed Law
      Jewed Law

      @Troll: Glad to finally see someone else agrees that there is no genuine rash of recent suicides based on bullying—it seems to be as convenient a scapegoat as video games, violent movies, lousy upbringing, you name it. These people all had underlying mentall illnesses that drove them to suicide, and last I checked, homosexuality isn’t considered a mentall illness, so let’s stop blaming his death on it.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Jewed Law: Not all people who commit suicide are mentally ill. Many are in crisis. Crisis and the inability to cope with that is what pushes a lot of people to take their own lives. Ravi is responsible for creating the atmosphere of crisis. Case closed.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Troll: taping people having sex without their knowledge is not normal college idiocy that happens regularly. what are you talking about? You have no evidence Clementi was clinically depressed and your insistence he “probably was suicidal before any of this happened” is inadmissable. Objection sustained. Try again. Ravi will be tried for invasion of privacy on behalf of Clementis partner after this trial.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Troll
      Troll

      @ewe: What a horrifically flawed argument. People all over the world live in “crisis” – war, famine, hunger, injustice. Yet, many remain optimistic and hopeful about the future. Every single person with suicidal ideation – whether they are previously diagnosed, misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed – is by DSM-IV APA criteria a person with a mental illness, i.e. major depression. I’m not trying to disparage those with mental illness; on the contrary I am trying to bring it to the forefront.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      Not all suicides have to do with depression and mental illness. Show me some documented evidence of that line of bullshit. Me flawed? Thanks for the laugh. I need to laugh like that at least once a day.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Troll
      Troll

      Look it up on the DSM-IV. It’s not bullshit. It’s fact. It’s medicine. Some of us actually know what we’re talking about. But clearly your wisdom trumps the APA and every other legitimate psychiatric organization out there. Retard.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Politically Incorrect Thug
      Politically Incorrect Thug

      @Troll: You: smart. Ewe: dumb.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dlb
      Dlb

      @ Troll @ ewe I definitely agree with Troll that some gay rights groups exploit suicides, which is a very personal and complex event that can’t be easily blamed on any one thing, for there own causes, I think technically ewe is right that suicide does not by definition mean that the person suffered from Major Depression or any other classified mental disorder: “The evidence is strong that over 90 percent of children and adolescents who commit suicide have a mental disorder, as explained later in this section.” – http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter3/sec5.html

      Sep 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      @ewe:

      SURPRISE!

      A witness has no Fifth Amendment right to simply not to cooperate in a trial, UNLESS such information could be used to prosecute that witness.

      There is also no Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate someone else.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      I’m amazed by the number idiots that post on this board. I’ll let you figure out for yourselves which ones of you are idiots.

      Sep 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hf2hvit
      hf2hvit

      @Mike in London UK: I think you mean MARCUS Bachmann

      Sep 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      QUEERTY asked “So why the withholding?”

      The most likely reason, one QUEERTY didn’t mention, is that Celementi’s friend/partner/date/whatever is not relevant to the case, and the prosecutors don’t want to give the
      defense a chance to try a “bury the facts with B.S.” defense by cross examining this
      guy ad infinitum so that the relevant evidence is hidden by all the noise and salacious
      questions about whatever the two were doing.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 12:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jakey
      Jakey

      @Troll: Sorry, not buying it. Mental illness is not the only thing that leads to suicide or an attempt, and if you’re this knowledgable you should know that. Furthermore you cannot automatically have a mental illness simply by performing a certain action, any more than you automatically have a cold because you made yourself cough. You are correct that homosexuality is not a mental illness and therefore not a risk factor in suicide…so how do you explain the higher rates of suicide and attempted suicide among the gay population?

      @Bill: Yep, I think you found the most likely reason. The most obvious way this guy could help the defense is by providing a distraction. It’s not impossible that he has some valuable testimony about Clementi’s state of mind, but not very likely either.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Troll
      Troll

      @Jakey: Jakey (honestly, Jakey?), the discussion here pertains to suicide and not “a certain action.” If a person were to come to me with a well thought plan to jump off a bridge because they were poor, I wouldn’t say – oh! here have a billion dollars now you should be set! too ta loo! STANDARD OF CARE, regardless of the stressor, is to INVOLUNTARILY institutionalize that person, start medication, and begin therapy. I never made the argument that suicide rates weren’t higher among the gay population. But yet again, the point is being missed entirely. Removing ONE stressor does not remove them ALL. There is a more intricate, complex mechanism at play here. What was s stressor to Mr. Clementi is not a stressor to me, and I assume you as well. We are all individuals with a unique set of problems, obstacles in life, and coping capabilities – for you to truly believe that sexuality plays such a direct role is foolish, dangerous, and completely counterproductive.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Caliban
      Caliban

      Based on my reading I don’t think any video footage of Tyler Clementi and a male sex partner was ever “broadcast” except to Molly Wei’s computer, where Dharun Ravi was spying via web-cam. Ravi did PLAN to spy on Clementi again and invited others to watch it via social media sites, but by that time Tyler new what was going on and disabled the camera.

      But it’s really quite ignorant to blame suicide ONLY on “mental illness” as if it exists in a vacuum, without stressors or precipitating events. When someone commits suicide after being bullied and harassed it’s disingenuous to exempt the bully or harasser of any or all blame and responsibility. If that were true there would be NO POINT to anti-bullying campaigns because, hey, the victims *just* mentally ill, right? You can’t have it both ways, promote anti-bullying efforts on one hand while on the other claiming bullies have no responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

      Again based on my reading it seems that Tyler Clementi’s parents did not know he was gay or did not accept it, or both. He had just been “outed” by his college roommate via social media (Facebook and/or Twitter IIRC) after Ravi had spied on him having sex via hidden webcam then told his friends (and anyone else who read his updates) about it. Suicide is often called “a permanent solution to a short-term problem” and teens and young adults are particularly susceptible because they don’t have the maturity to see past the immediate problem; it seems permanent and insurmountable to them. But there usually IS an actual problem, a precursor for the stress and depression. Those problems aren’t imaginary, a mental defect, they’re very real and they’re often caused by harassment and bullying. The only thing that’s unrealistic and maybe even imaginary is the victim being so overwhelmed, believing that things will never change, that the problem is unsolvable and they have no other recourse than suicide.

      The “It Gets Better” campaign is a little wishy-washy IMO, relying too much on patience and passivity, waiting for things to get better on their own rather than working to make things better, but it does address a central issue in many suicides, that young people often see the way things are NOW as they way things will always be.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      @Troll: The obvious point, which you conveniently overlook, is that gay people have an extra ton of stressors in their lives. Bullying is one, and it’s a serious one. Remove it, and remove all the others. Then you can tell us that gay suicide is caused by depression. Typical conservative blame the victim speak. Back under your bridge.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      Queerty, the joking tone is inappropriate for this story.
      Also, it’s starting to look like conservative money is paying trolls to comment on gay blogs, to upset us and confuse the issues. Beware.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert
      Robert

      Something has never sat well with me about this case– given Tyler Clementi’s history of turning his webcam on and doing things on Cam4 which included his face, I didn’t see the filming of his encounter as a catalyst for suicide. I’ve always been curious about the possibility of a bad dumping/break-up with an older gentleman who Clementi had quickly fallen for as another potential catalyst for his suicide.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 27 · Robert wrote, “Something has never sat well with me about this case– given Tyler Clementi’s history of turning his webcam on and doing things on Cam4 which included his face, I didn’t see the filming of his encounter as a catalyst for suicide. I’ve always been curious about the possibility of a bad dumping/break-up with an older gentleman who Clementi had quickly fallen for as another potential catalyst for his suicide.”

      Another hypothesis is that those webcam videos were made a year or two earlier,
      intended only for gays into that sort of thing, and was the kind of behavior that the victim outgrew by the time he started college. Ravi seemed to be doing a lot of
      “research” on his roommate, and could have found those videos and threaten to email links to to the videos to all of their classmates, or to the victim’s parents: the press accounts made Ravi seem kind of manipulative.

      We’ll probably never know – Ravi is not going to be talking about any such thing that might have gone on given that it would risk a longer sentence if he is convicted.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      The identity of Clementi’s lover is not relevant to the case, and making it public certainly isn’t relevant either.

      This is an effort by the defense to shift attention away from the crime committed and the perpetrator and onto another individual. Once Clementi’s lover becomes the center of the debate, they can start to defame him, question his integrity, etc. and further pile onto the low-level homophobia the defense team has been leveraging since the beginning to “justify” their client’s actions.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mk
      mk

      He posted on a gay forum just before the suicide. He was really upset about what his roommate had done. This wasn’t like cam4. It was people who knew him broadcasting him having sex for their ridicule and the ridicule of anyone on campus.

      To the people talking about psychological diagnosis and suicide, gay kids are more likely to be depressed and have other psychological anxiety and upset conditions because of the way they are treated and their environment. The psychological diagnosis, the fact they eve consulted a therapist and got a diagnosis, and the suicide can all be a product of the hostile atmosphere.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 30 · mk wrote, “He posted on a gay forum just before the suicide. He was really upset about what his roommate had done. This wasn’t like cam4. It was people who knew him broadcasting him having sex for their ridicule and the ridicule of anyone on campus.”

      The accounts I saw on QUEERTY suggest that Ravi’s web cam did not show anything more than a same-sex kiss – if any sexual acts occurred, it was outside the field of view of the cam or occurred after the cam was shut off or repositioned.

      That’s why I suspect something else might have occurred, such as Ravi finding those videos on cam4, and threatening to use those in some way. It wouldn’t be surprising if someone in that situation did not give all of the details.

      Sep 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TN
      TN

      Horribly inappropriate joke aside. Why would the prosecutor have to release MB’s identity?? Then they would be doing exactly what Ravi had set out to do, invade someone’s else privacy, in an attempt to put someone who had invade Tyler’s privacy away?? That makes absolutely no sense. You’re going to accuse someone else of doing something and then go out and do it yourself? What are you? A gay conservative Republican?

      If MB wants his identity to be a secret, why out him? What more info can he provide to help the prosecutors?

      Sep 5, 2011 at 1:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anon
      Anon

      @Mike in London UK: No: Marcus Bachmann.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 10:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Politically Incorrect Thug: Second grade is beginning this week i heard. Please enroll.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @the crustybastard: SURPRISE yourself. One can always refuse to testify if they so choose. Always. There may be consequences but one can always refuse to testify. Don’t tell me you need examples of that.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Troll: I know that some of us know what we are talking about but you are not one of them. Now go elsewhere with your blanket statements regarding ALL suicides. You are rediculous and petty.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Brian: It most certainly is relevant when the prosecutor aka the STATE is saying publicly that the partner of Tyler Clementi should remain anonymous for his privacy. They are only saying that because he is gay and are subliminally sending out the message that there is something inherently wrong with the victim in this case. There are two victims. Tyler Clementi and his partner and no closet is ever gonna combat this type of crime.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Dlb: children and adolescents are not the only people who commit suicide so there goes the 90% figure on “all” suicides which is what that kook Jewed Law originally proposed.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @TN: I really understand your point of view but a live witness can be of value and a live witness should be called to testify. Fuck the privacy. Someone killed himself basically moments after this crime occurred. I cannot stand someone like Ravi but we the people are the state and we are the ones who are basically going after Ravi to incarcerate him. I, you and everyone else have the right to know who is involved.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @TN: Ravi would immediately appeal if you denied him access to a witness.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      FYI: And remember just because you have sex with your own gender doesn’t make you gay anyway. It might not make you straight but it doesn’t necessarily make you gay.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @ewe: I most certainly can understand the State of NJ not wanting to reveal the identity of MB whose image was captured on webcam with Tyler Clementi. I do feel that a deposition of MB and records of his correspondence emails/texts with Tyler are critically important in presenting the full account of the events which sadly ended with Tyler taking his own life.

      While Dharun Ravi’s webcam spying and attempt to exploit Tyler and MB on webcam are despicable and, in my opinion, a desperate attempt to be the “cool guy” among his freshman peers, I question if it drove Clementi to take his own life. Clementi was an avid user of Cam4 and has showcased his naked body on the site (anyone who Googled the part of his email address before the @ symbol could see screencaps of his shows), so I’ve always been puzzled by it being a reason for suicide.

      If someone were to investigate the reasoning for his suicide it would be crucial to understand if Tyler had fallen in lust with MB and was rejected by MB due to the drama with the webcam or Tyler had become too close too fast. We know Tyler was rejected by his mother after coming out, so if MB rejected him as well he may have felt total despair and hopelessness which resulted in a truly unfortunate outcome.

      I feel awful that Tyler had to endure the rejection of his mother because of who he is. While there have been positive things such as the “It Gets Better” campaign resulting from Tyler’s story being shared and the tragic stories of so many others who have gone down similar paths. However, I think there is a lot more to the story than a grainy poorly lit video of two men getting to first or second base.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jakey
      Jakey

      @Troll: Yes, “Jakey.” I’m sorry I couldn’t think of a less silly forum handle, like “Troll.”

      I’m not arguing that sexuality plays any role at all. I agree with you that homosexuality is not a disorder and does not lead to suicide. And yet there are those suicide rates, and that’s how they break down. Either it’s a precedent-shattering coincidence that spans years and geographical locations, or gay people are just naturally predisposed to suicide, or the burden of being surrounded by people like Clementi’s roommate makes suicide more likely because, as a stress factor, it’s just that strong. Gee, I wonder which one it is!

      I’m sorry man. Your nonspecific, made-up-sounding data about suicide rates among despairing populations isn’t convincing (do produce some numbers if that comes from anywhere but the top of your head). Your assertion that attempting suicide by definition makes you mentally ill, and that mentall illness is therefore Factor #1, is not convincing either. For someone who wants to shed light on the problem of mentall illness you seem awfully ignorant of how it works. That someone is in need of treatment if they want to commit suicide or have made an attempt is a given. That does not mean the cause is “depression,” the end. Clinical depression has many possible causes, one of which is living in stressful and difficult circumstances. (Another is low self-esteem and pessimism, and guess how easily those can flower in a situation like this.) Gay people surrounded by homophobes get that and more, and have a higher suicide rate, so why you’d assert that it’s not a contributing factor I have no idea.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Caliban
      Caliban

      IF Dharun Ravi was on trial for causing Tyler Clementi’s suicide then the identity and testimony of MB would be relevant, but that’s not what he’s on trial for. The only charges here are directly related to his invasion of Tyler’s privacy via web-cam and social media sites and the facts about those actions don’t change whether Tyler was with a man, jerking off to a gay magazine, or humping a teddy bear. Ravi’s actions and the cover-up he engaged in to hide them are the only issues here. The identity of Tyler’s partner is at best a distraction.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Brian: interesting. If what you say is true then Tyler Clementi would not have had any emotional issue regarding his parents if only Ravi had not broken the law.

      Sep 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RedAssault
      RedAssault

      WAit… MB… MARCUS BACHMANN!!!!

      Sep 6, 2011 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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