Will Begin Screening Members Against Sexual Offender Registries

A California woman, referred to publically only as Jane Doe, is suing after she was sexually assaulted by a man she met through the popular dating website.  Ms. Doe is alleging that the man came to her house after their second date and forced her to perform a sex act. The law suit was not seeking money damages, but rather, a temporary restraining order prohibiting new members from signing up for the website until procedures have been implemented to screen members against sexual offender registries. Ms. Doe’s attacker has a history of violent sexual assault crimes which she believes would have been caught if the website had a screening process for its members.

Ms. Doe’s attorney, Mark Webb, suggested that when members pay, their credit cards could be run through sexual offender registries before allowing profiles to be published onto the site. Initially, an attorney for stated that this proposed process was impossible. In a statement to the Associated Press on April 17, however, the website’s president, Mandy Ginsberg said screening processes were not implemented due to the “unreliability of the database” but after reviewing improvements, they will begin screening both current and new members. In the statement, Ms. Ginsberg said the website has “been advised that a combination of improved technology and an improved database now enables a sufficient degree of accuracy to move forward with this initiative, despite its continued imperfection.”

Ms. Ginsberg warned that the new checks should not be a substitute for members remaining vigilant on dates and “while these checks may help in certain instances, they remain highly flawed, and it is critical that this effort does not provide a false sense of security to our members. ” In addition, members are encouraged to review the website’s online dating safety tips which warn about certain risks involved in online dating. The list of tips for safely meeting offline include remaining sober, always meeting in a public place, and not to go home with your date on the first date.

 The website expects the screening procedures to be implemented with 60 to 90 days.

 Safety Tips for Meeting Offline

First meetings are exciting, however, always take precautions and use the following guidelines.

Always meet in public.

Meet for the first time in a populated, public location – never in a private or remote location.

Tell a friend.

Inform a friend or family member of your plans and when and where you’re going. If you own a mobile phone, make sure you have it with you.

Stay sober.

Do not do anything that would impair your judgment and cause you to make a decision you could regret.

Drive yourself to and from the first meeting.

Just in case things don’t work out, you need to be in control of your own ride – even if you take a taxi.

Don’t leave personal items unattended.

You don’t want to risk having personal information stolen. If you’re drinking, keep your drink with you at all times so it can’t be tampered with.

Stay in a public place.

It is best not to go back to your date’s home or bring them back to yours on the first date. If your date pressures you, end the date and leave at once.

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