Months after dozens of explicit photos of her were posted online in a campaign of cyber-harassment, the 29-year-old Miami victim remains shaken.
“I do not have words to describe how this has affected my life. I used to feel damaged beyond repair, and sometimes I still do, but I will overcome it,” the woman said in a letter read to the court. “The paranoia, fear and constant anxiety attacks made me feel like I did not deserve to live even one day in peace.”
But Friday offered closure as her ex-boyfriend, a Miami Beach information technology consultant named Antonio Giansante, accepted responsibility for spreading the “revenge porn.” He agreed to spend 30 days in jail and complete five years of probation.
The deal was a significant win for crusaders against cyber stalking. The woman’s letter was read to the judge by Miami lawyer Elisa D’Amico, the co-founder of the K&L Gates Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project, which worked extensively with the victim and fights against revenge porn.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“I look at this as a great victory,” said D’Amico, who was honored this year by the Florida Supreme Court for advocating for victims of revenge porn.
She called the victim “selfless and incredibly strong.”
The group, along with Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, pushed last year for the passage of a law that criminalized the non-consensual posting of intimate photos online. Florida became the 16th state to toughen laws against “revenge porn.”
Giansante was not arrested under the new law because the crimes dated back before its passage.
The information technology consultant was arrested last February on charges of cyber stalking, child pornography and video voyeurism. On Friday, he admitted to the voyeurism charges.
Giansante must also pay $2,500 each to the national program Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and Project Phoenix, a shelter for human trafficking victims at Miami’s Camillus House.
Under the deal, he will not be a convicted felon.
“While my client was initially accused of a long list of very serious crimes, it should be noted that the vast majority of the charges were dismissed,” said his lawyer, John Priovolos. “Mr. Giansante ultimately accepted a fair and just plea agreement that was approved by the victim and judge.”
According to prosecutors, Giansante tried 40 times to post the pornographic images to her employer’s Facebook page. Miami Beach police detectives traced the spreading of the images to Giansante’s computer at his Euclid Avenue apartment.
Giansante, a former soccer coach in Puerto Rico, had begun dating the former player when she was 16. They were together for several years — and she consented to some nude photos, which were taken when she was underage.
But many of the photos and some videos were recorded covertly without her consent. After moving to Miami, the two broke up in 2012 because of “his jealousy and possessiveness,” according to a search warrant.
After the breakup, coworkers began getting Facebook and Instagram requests from profiles featuring the nude images. She found a website that featured 62 images.
She told Miami Beach police that she almost quit her job and “has received panic attacks as a result of the tormenting conduct.”
Rundle said on Friday that “revenge porn is a tool for a spurned former partner, spouse or lover to gain power and control over someone,”
“Mr. Giansante’s plan for dominance was spoiled by this victim’s courage in coming forward to prosecute this crime.”