Westminster victim of revenge porn says new law is not helping

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A Westminster woman told the FOX31 Problem Solvers that Colorado’s new revenge porn law signed by former Gov. John Hickenlooper last May is not helping her. Now, Melinda Demato, 55, claims an ex-boyfriend has posted naked photos of her all over the internet, but Jefferson County prosecutors won’t do anything.

“It’s ruining my whole life. It’s caused all sorts of emotional damage. It’s caused me to lose a job," Demato said.

The photos of Demato and a man she says is her ex-boyfriend are sexually graphic. Yet when Demato went to Westminster police, she said the detective work was lacking.

“He called my ex and my ex said I posted everything," said Demato.

Police sent a harassment charge to the Jefferson County District Attorney, but prosecutor declined the case, telling the Problem Solvers in a statement: “Prosecutors considered all the available evidence and came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable likelihood of success of conviction.”

“I don’t think it matters whether they win or not. That’s not the point of justice. The point of justice is to at least be heard," Demato said.

By law, prosecutors have to prove intent to harass, which might seem obvious, but sometimes identifying whose naked body parts are actually online is less clear.

“They say if you can’t see your face, if you’re not recognizable, it doesn’t matter," said Demato while staring at a website she insisted showed photos where her face was, "totally recognizably me, but of course, nothing has been done."

Broomfield-based attorney John Arsenault practices patent and intellectual law and says despite recent changes to Colorado's revenge porn law, proving a criminal case is still a battle.

"The burden of proof is still the challenge," Arsenault said.

Arsenault works with law enforcement on revenge porn cases and said without a top-notch computer forensics team, simply having a new law doesn’t make cases any easier to pursue.

“A lot of the jurisdictions don’t have the resources nor the know-how to effectively prosecute this kind of case and get the evidence necessary to convict a perpetrator," Arsenault said.

Meanwhile, Demato said the updated law is not helping her.

“It feels like they haven’t done anything to protect me and I’m a victim. And everyday I’m a victim and every day those pictures are up there," she said.

We reached out to Demado's  ex-boyfriend by phone. He told us he didn’t know what we were talking about. Demato showed us a website she says he maintains that has 18,000 naked pictures, which appeared to be of the ex-boyfriend and several women.

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