Porn Site Operator Convicted of Public Nudity

Michael Hayes
LINCOLN, Neb. — A woman who operates a porn website is in trouble with local authorities again, having been found guilty of violating her city’s public decency ordinance.

Melissa Harrington, 23, who operates MelissaMidwest.com, ran afoul of the city ordinance when she hosted a wet T-shirt contest at a local bar.

Harrington testified at trial that she was not violating the law, which requires that the areola and nipple be covered, because she had painted that area pink, creating a de facto pastie.

An officer present at the night of the incident testified that he could not determine if Harrington had paint covering the offending areas.

In her ruling, Lancaster County Judge Jean Lovell said that the paint was not good enough to comply with the law, which mandates that the areas be opaque — not clear.

Harrington’s attorney, Chad Wythers, offered an exhibit to demonstrate his client’s compliance with the ordinance.

“An examination of Exhibit 1 clearly reveals areas that are transparent and translucent,” Lovell said.

Harrington’s first run in with local authorities came in 2003 when she posted topless photos of herself on her website. Authorities charged her with the same offense — public indecency. The case garnered national media attention from outlets that included CNN, USA Today and NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

After the 2003 incident, Harrington posed for layouts in Maxim, FHM and Playboy. In 2004, she was named Gallery magazine’s Girl Next Door of the Year.

Harrington is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2. She faces up to eight months in jail or a $500 fine.