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.