Woman Sues Popular Online Dating Website over Alleged Sexual Assault and Asks for Background Screening of Members

A woman claiming she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on the popular online dating website Match.com has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court asking that the website start background screening members for sexual offenders since her alleged assailant had a history of sex crimes, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. (ESR News Update 4.19.11: Popular Online Dating Service to Background Check Potential Members using Sex Offender Database.)

The Times reports the young woman – a Los Angeles entertainment executive identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit – met her alleged assailant in 2010 and that after the second date he allegedly followed her home and assaulted her. After the incident, she learned the man had been convicted of several counts of sexual battery.

The lawsuit claims the attack may have been prevented if Match.com had performed background screening by checking the names of members against public sex offender registries. The woman’s Attorney will ask for a temporary injunction that would prevent Match.com from adding members until a background screening process is implemented.

On the Match.com website, members are warned that they are responsible for screening the people they meet under the ‘Match.com Terms of Use Agreement’:

7. Your Interactions with Other Members. You are solely responsible for your interactions with other Members. You understand that Match.com does not in any way screen its Members, nor does Match.com inquire into the backgrounds of its Members or attempt to verify the statements of its Members.

Members of Match.com are also provided with the following ‘Safety Tips for Meeting Offline’ that warn them to always take precautions and use the following guidelines:

  • Always meet in public.
  • Tell a friend.
  • Stay sober.
  • Drive yourself to and from the first meeting.
  • Don’t leave personal items unattended.
  • Stay in a public place.

Consumers should also be warned that certain types of background screening do not produce reliable results, explains Attorney Lester Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a San Francisco-area background screening company accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®).

“Consumers need to be aware of cheap background checks based upon databases that are subject to both false negatives and false positives and have substantial issues in terms of timeliness, completeness, and accuracy,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ a comprehensive guide to background screening. “In fact, these database searches could actually make consumers more vulnerable by creating a false sense of security in them.”

Rosen says if consumers wants to protect themselves in this type of situation, they need to do a proper background screening, one which can include county court level searches carried out by a professional background screening firm or private investigator. 

For more information about background screening, visit the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) website at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Related Article: Online Dating Background Checks Fast and Easy But Not Always Accurate

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area with a mission to help employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is Accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and is a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent helping U.S. businesses maintain legal workforces. For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/04/sex-offender-matchcom-lawsuit.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+(L.A.+Now) 
http://www.match.com/registration/membagr.aspx
http://www.match.com/help/safetytips.aspx?lid=4