Woman suing Match.com over alleged sexual assault speaks out about incident
A Los Angeles woman who this week filed suit against Match.com, saying she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on the dating site, is speaking out about the incident.
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. He said his client wants the site to screen members to determine if they are sexual predators.
"They are a very powerful and successful online dating service, and they have the means to do this," Webb said.
In an interview with KABC-TV Channel 7, the woman said her relationship with the man started innocently enough: "He sent me an email and said he was into golf and tennis and he had a house in the Palisades over Malibu and he liked art and culture, travel and food."
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, he said.
But after the second date, the woman said, the alleged assault occurred: "He went straight into the bathroom when he came in my place and I sat down on the couch and waited for him," she told the TV station. "Then he came out of the bathroom and jumped me and forced me to have oral sex and then he left."
"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?"
Officials with Match.com could not be reached for comment late Wednesday. But in a statement to KABC-TV 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.
-- Alexandra Zavis and Shelby Grad
Photo credit: Stephen Osman/Los Angeles Times