Man Assaults Girlfriend, Then Forces Her to Walk Outside in a Towel

A man beat his girlfriend for sending texts to other men and then forced her to walk down a Manhattan street naked while he made a video recording of the humiliating episode that was later posted online, police said.

It shows the 22-year-old woman with long dark hair walking slowly in the winter cold in a short white bath towel and dark shoes, as a man yells insults behind her in Spanish, and eventually yanks the towel away.

"Take off your towel and pay the price for the shame," a male voice says in a mix of Spanish and English. The man taking the video complains that he wanted to "start a family" with her but meanwhile she was "talking to seven other men."

As the man taunts the woman, he warns her he is going to post the video online.

Jason Melo was being held ahead of his Manhattan arraignment after his arrest on charges of assault, coercion and acting in a manner injurious to a child after the video wound up online earlier this week.

The video prompted New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray to remind victims of abuse there are "many resources available" to women.

"The video displayed verbal abuse, forced humiliation, and harassment by the alleged offender, directed at his wife," she said in a statement. "Posting that video online perpetuated the abuse, which New York City does not tolerate."

Though determined to speak out against the treatment depicted in the video, aides to McCray said they were worried that bringing further attention to it could lead to more people — and media organizations — sharing it online. They say that's why they made the decision not to link to the video or describe it explicitly.

"We urge people not to share the video as they call out the abuse," said Erin White, a spokeswoman for McCray. The first lady's statement also reminded victims of abuse there are "many resources available" to women if needed.

The 22-year-old woman filed a report on Monday but the incident took place Sunday. She said he attacked her in front of her 3-month-old baby, and then threatened to kill her if she didn't go out publicly in the towel. She was taken to a hospital with bruising and swelling.

It wasn't clear whether the 24-year-old Melo had an attorney who could comment on the charges.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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