Victim: Match.com sex-offender screening could 'save' other women
Screenwriter Carole Markin, a sexual assault victim of a man she met on Match.com, said she feels vindicated by a legal settlement in which the dating site agreed to conduct background checks on all members to screen out known sex offenders.
"If I save one woman from getting attacked, then I'm happy," she said, explaining that she agreed to drop her anonymity to put a human face on the victims of Internet predators.
She said she believes security screening could prevent attacks such as the one she suffered last year on a second date with Alan Paul Wurtzel of Pacific Palisades, who had at least six previous sex offense convictions.
Markin, 54, said she has been a Match.com member for seven years and had pleasant experiences in the past. She conceded she might have been lulled into a false sense of security even though she continued to exercise caution.
Wurtzel had seemed charming on a first date on a Sunday afternoon over coffee. She let him pick her up at her apartment for their dinner a week later because she'd injured her foot and didn't want to drive; he followed her to her door after dinner — a gesture she mistook as courtly — pushed her inside and forced himself on her.
"I didn't fight him for long because I was afraid he would hurt me," said Markin, who is 5-foot-3 and weighs less than 100 pounds. Wurtzel is at least a foot taller and weighs about 250 pounds, she said.
Wurtzel, 67, pleaded no contest to sexual battery last week. He faces a year in jail and five years' probation when he is sentenced Sept. 19.
Markin didn't seek monetary compensation in her lawsuit and agreed to forgo any future claims against Match.com in the settlement.
--Carol J. Williams
Photo: L.A. Times