It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for Match.com. In February a man was charged in the brutal assault of one woman and the murder of a second woman, both of whom he met on Match.com. Just months later, a Los Angeles woman accused a man she met on Match.com of sexually assaulting her. Sued by the assaulted woman, the well-advertised online dating service is now being forced to produce proof that it screens its members. The company’s attorney told the L.A. judge hearing the case that he will present the required proof in court tomorrow.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the Match.com sexual assault case, a 67-year-old California man was accused of sexual assault by a woman he met on Match.com. The assault occurred on the man’s second date with the 53-year-old woman. According to an online report posted by Los Angeles television station KTLA , the woman said that the man drove her home at the end of their second date, then followed her inside and assaulted her. Although the man initially claimed that the sex was consensual, last week he pleaded no contest to felony sexual battery by restraint (AKA rape). At the September 19 sentencing hearing, the woman’s assailant could be sentenced to a one-year jail term with 5 years of probation and required lifelong registration as a sex offender.
In the aftermath of the rape charge, the rape victim sued Match.com, accusing the online dating service of failing to screen its members. After being attacked, the woman said she found online evidence that her date had been convicted of six charges of sexual battery. Outraged that Match.com’s avowed screening process could allow a convicted sexual predator to slip through its safety net, the woman sued. Last Friday, the Los Angeles judge hearing the suit ordered Match.com to produce proof that the online dating service screens its members. The dating site’s attorney said he would provide the required proof in court on August 23.
Should Match.com provide the court with adequate screening proof, the rape victim’s suit will likely be settled. However, some good has already come for the suit. Match.com President Many Ginsberg said the site is beginning to conduct criminal background checks of all users and screen all Match.com subscribers against the national sex offender registry.