A New York man who forced his girlfriend to walk naked in the streets of New York City as "punishment" has been called out by a Manhattan judge.
26-year-old Jasson Melo made his 22-year-old girlfriend remove her clothes and walk the streets of Harlem naked after he allegedly discovered text messages from another man on her phone. The 22-year-old woman – whose name has not been revealed – wore a towel out of the apartment but was stripped by Melo once in public. He then demanded she pose for a picture near a rubbish bin.
According to New York Daily News, Justice Robert Mandelbaum condemned Melo's actions in the Manhattan Supreme Court. "Jasson Melo's view of women belongs in the Dark Ages," Mandelbaum said. "To him, women are property."
After hearing the women's testimony, Mandelbaum said it was clear she "remains scared from the fear and humiliation, maybe forever."
The woman, who is now 24, wrote a letter to the court. "The pain and emotions were and still are unexplainable and inimaginable," the letter states. "Mr Melo destroyed me in so many ways, and didn't stop as he would continuously taunt me as if his nightmare was his sick joke."
The couple were reportedly in the process of separating when Melo caught his girlfriend "cheating". He told the court in December that the punishment was a traditional African custom. The pair have a two-year-old child, who was left alone in their apartment during the ordeal.
To make matters worse, Melo filmed the traumatic scene and shared the footage to social media and the woman's family members. He has since tried to market merchandise with catchphrases from the video.
Mandelbaum sentenced Melo to the maximum punishment – two to seven years in jail. The prosecutor, Caitlin Connolly, said Melo was "remorseless and laughing about his conduct".
In December, Melo told the court his partner had agreed to the punishment. But the woman quickly debunked this, saying she only agreed after hours of beating and threats. "He grabbed my neck, and force it really hard. I was losing breath," the woman said.
"He was saying many things, like I'm a whore, I could kill you right now, I'm capable of anything. He said, you know what, you're gonna pay. You're gonna get naked and you're gonna go out on the street, and you're gonna pay," she said.
On the video, Melo can be heard yelling at her in Spanish: "Take off your towel and pay the price for the shame I feel after telling you how pretty you were and that I wanted to start a family with you. You're going to pay the price for being a whore. Since you're a whore, you're going to pay like a whore. Take off your towel. Cooperate bitch. She's a tart. Let's go. Let's go. Say 'hi' to the camera and say why you're doing this."