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29 December 2009


HUM 2023

If you are acting in self defense why do you then flee the scene and do not call the authorities?

It generally paints a bad portrait of yourself if you feel that calling the police to let them know that you just had to defend yourself which resulted in the death of another person isn't important to you.

This sounds just like another murder and it is truly sad that the professor thought this young man was someone whom he could trust.

Sigh a lot to the world of academia indeed.


What is going on?

How many brothas and sistas are going to get killed in one or two days?


Something doesn't add up about this story, and if it is what I think it is then all I can do is shake my head.


So, Michael was bi, I assume.


Sadly, this has all the mark of 'Trade Gone Wrong', but I'll wait for the facts to come out. Just very sad. I used to own his book, "Speak My Name" before donating it to a gay center bookdrive.

Larry Roberts

Very shocking. I'd met Don back when both of us lived in Minnesota. Hadn't stayed in touch but remember him as a very sweet and gentle guy.

Nathan James

Too many, too much, in too short a time. I can't...I just can't.

Why are people killing us in such numbers and with such impunity?


This is truly a case of the truth being stranger than fiction.

Total insanity.

The news gets weirder every day. So sad.




This is sad news. Belton taught my African American Lit class at Temple University back in '06 and I thought he was an excellent professor. The killers story sounds seriously sketchy. Two sexual assaults?? Could it be "morning after remorse". Shaking my head...


So black...and so very, very gay?

Nikita Allgire

Professor Belton was loved by all of his students and it comes as an unbelievable shock to hear this tragedy. You will be missed, Don -- Your smile, your presence, your knowledge. Indiana University has lost a great mind.


53 year old gay man having sex with a 25 year old bi-sexual man. Sounds like a predator to me. And I would say the exact same thing if this was a straight couple in a sexual relationship! The age spread is too much and the mental maturity is so far advanced it equates to child molestation.


"The age spread is too much and the mental maturity is so far advanced it equates to child molestation."

You're an idiot.


A 25 year old man is a child in need of protection from 50 year old men?!? Are you serious dhampton? That's some hilarious homophobia there... but I'm sure you have gay friends. You even let one use your bathroom once.

I agree with Ealan in that it does sound like "morning after regret." The guy waited 2 days and brought a weapon, Murder in the 1st degree, 25-Life. I blame religion ultimately, for pounding the shame of being attracted to men in to him hard enough that he thought it was worth killing to hide it.


As a 23 year old dhampton I call bullshit on your conclusion. I don't find most men over 35 very attractive and I'm not friends with anyone over 32 and yet I still wouldn't find a man of 53, let alone 60, who was interested in me and pursued me, to be a predator. I am a grown ass man dhampton and so is Griffin.

Give the man life and throw away the key.

Josh Lukin

I knew Don Belton when he taught in Philadelphia and found him to be the gentlest man imaginable, one who backed off immediately if his mild advances were rejected. I'm very sure that, if the troubled young Marine confronted him seeking an apology for sexual assault and Don denied having done anything wrong, he had indeed not done anything wrong.

The fact that Don got a job at a public ivy like Indiana with only a master's degree is a testament to the breadth of his knowledge and his abilities as a great educator. He'd studied under Bernard Malamud in college, been friends with James Baldwin (and had a big cache of Baldwin's papers), and worked with queer theorist Eve Sedgwick and playwright August Wilson -- all of them now gone.

He had an amazing baritone voice that he used to sing "We Shall Overcome"; he also did an awesome Randy Newman impression. His critiques of Terry Gross and Tavis Smiley were hilarious and on-target. I learned from conversations with him about Toni Morrison, Bertolt Brecht, and several other great artists. But he was so eager, when teaching four courses a semester in Philly, to find a tenure-track job that would allow him time to return to his first love, writing fiction.

Justin Coffman

"The age spread is too much and the mental maturity is so far advanced it equates to child molestation."

Ahh, yes, because in a world composed of infinite shades of grey, it must be so convenient to boil your argument down to the simple math of "53 - 25".

dhampton, I'm afraid life just isn't that simple.

A person's psychosexual maturity is nearly entirely formed by the age of eighteen. Very little further development occurs as the psyche relates to sexuality after this point. So, comparing the psychosexual maturity of a 53 year old to a 25 year old yields a fairly comparable level. Perhaps, the 25 year old, as a mid-twenties male, doesn't have the mental maturity that the 53 year old does, but it most certainly doesn't boil down to child molestation.

Never mind the fact that, for child molestation to occur, you... kind of need a child somewhere in the equation.


Nathan James, the killer in this case has been arrested. That is not impunity. The case appears fairly simple, and the killer will likely be convicted of first degree murder.


My assumption is Michael was "in the closet" and finally "came out" with Professor Belton. After doing so, he was remorseful he acted on his true desires.

If Belton was romantically interested in Michael, I highly doubt he would force him physically to do anything sexual in nature.

Two unfortunate lives destroyed for nothing more than a loathing of their persona.


MY assumption is that Griffin lured him into thinking they were pals, so that Griffin could murder him.

I hope to god I'm wrong.


'53 year old gay man having sex with a 25 year old bi-sexual man. Sounds like a predator to me. And I would say the exact same thing if this was a straight couple in a sexual relationship!'

Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford, 22 year difference.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, 25 year difference.
Adrianne Curry, Michael Knight, 25 year difference
Barbara Hershey, Naveen Andrews, 21 year difference.

I could go on, but these four seem to be great examples of age gaps that do not lead to showing up at the elder's house to stab them. I think, based on the scanty evidence, that this is a case of a self hating gay or bisexual man (Griffin) who had started a relationship with Professor Belton.

I feel for both Professor Belton's and Michael Griffin's friends and families, because Michael was not comfortable with who he was, lives are ruined.

joan mckniff

I'm a 68 year old straight white woman. as such i know a lot about unwanted advances. if it happens once, you don't go back. if happens twice, okay now you know it wasn't a one off misunderstanding. you do not go the guy's house alone to ask for an apology because your feelings are so sensitive you'll kill him him if he doesn't apologize.


Griffin claims he was sexually assaulted twice and the professor wrote about Griffin in a romantic sense in his journal, so most likely Griffin explored his bisexual tendencies with Belton a few times and later freaked out. Was Griffin manipulated and felt violated? I have no idea, I suppose it cold have happened, but I seriously doubt it. Most victims of sexual assault avoid their attackers, they do not go confront them, especially alone. It seems more probable that Griffin couldn't handle being gay or bisexual, or that they had a fight over something totally unrelated and he's now trying to claim he was assaulted to justify murdering someone. (not that it would, but he's probably hoping there are enough homophobes in the area to ensure that he'll get away with it).


I don't know much about don Belton, but I'll do my research. I'm sad reading this because here is a man, who made great accomplishments in his life, dead because he had some hope of finding love (or something to those who don't believe in love). Sorry if this is negative, but unfortunately I'm in this space today. (but not for much longer)

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