The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 45.0°F | Overcast

Librarian Held in Rape

MIT Employee Allegedly Raped 12-year-old

By Frank Dabek

MIT employee Mark Belson has been charged with the rape of a 12-year-old boy.

Belson pleaded innocent to the charge of rape of a child in Dorchester District Court on Tuesday. He remains in custody pending a bail of $50,000 cash.

The rape allegedly occurred in a bathroom at the University of Massachusetts-Boston around 6 p.m. on Monday according to an Associated Press report.

Belson, 52, is senior library assistant and has worked for MIT for 20 years.

James Borghesani, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, said that Belson has no previous record but that he was issued a trespass warning at the UMass-Boston campus several years ago.

Borghesani did not reveal if violence was involved in the case or if the charge was based only on the age of the victim. “The charge is rape,” he said.

The Boston Herald reported yesterday that the bathroom where the assault occurred was listed on a website for gay men looking for sexual partners.

The site contains an entry for the Science Building at UMass-Boston: “Cruisy toilet on second floor. ‘Weekends especially busy.’” An anonymous report on the same site says, “The cruise bathrooms have been filling up with mostly old men. I would say about 98% of them seem to be over 50. Many of these old men have become pretty blatant and are not only scaring off the young gay crowd but have been chasing off a lot of scared straight boys also.”

Borghesani refused to comment to a Tech reporter on the pertinence of the bathroom’s presence on the site, but his comments to the Herald indicate that he does not consider it to be a mitigating circumstance.

Belson is currently on administrative leave from the Institute. In addition to his duties in the library, Belson recently published a play, Silent Amidah: A Remembrance, in conjunction with World AIDS Day.

Belson was awarded a Council for the Arts grant for another play, The Jaded Marsyas and is the producer of Homophobia in the Media and Society: One Life to Live and Beyond, an MIT educational outreach video program distributed in association with the Council for Primary and Secondary Education.

He is being defended by Karen Tannenbaum, a public defender in Suffolk County. Tannenbaum refused to comment on the case when reached by telephone yesterday.

MIT officials also refused to comment when reached yesterday.