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Woman sues online dating site over alleged sexual assault

April 13, 2011 | 10:36 pm

A Los Angeles entertainment executive who says she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on Match.com filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking that the popular dating site start screening its members for sexual predators.

Attorney Mark L. Webb, who represents the woman identified in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe, said he will ask a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge for a temporary injunction barring the site from signing up more members until his client’s demands are met.

“They are a very powerful and successful online dating service, and they have the means to do this,” Webb said.

Officials with Match.com could not be reached for comment late Wednesday. But in a statement to KABC-TV Channel 7 last week, officials that they provide safety tips on the website and warn members that they are responsible for screening the people they meet.

"While incidents like this one between individuals who meet on Match.com are extremely rare, it doesn't make them any less horrifying," the statement said.

Webb described his client as an Ivy League graduate who works in film and television. He said she met her alleged assailant last year at Urth Cafe in West Hollywood. He seemed charming and she agreed to see him again. After the second date, however, he allegedly followed her home and forced himself on her, Webb said.

"This horrific ordeal completely blindsided me because I had considered myself savvy about online dating safety," the woman said in a statement released through her attorney last week. "Things quickly turned into a nightmare, beyond my control."

After the man left, the woman went online and learned that he had been convicted of several counts of sexual battery. Charges are pending in the Match.com case, Webb said.

The attorney said his client wants Match.com to check members’ names against public sex offender registries. “It’s not a guarantee,” he said. “But don’t you think something is better than nothing?”

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-- Alexandra Zavis

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