LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A California woman claims she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on the popular online dating site Match.com, and now she’s suing the site, saying they need to do more to prevent similar attacks.
CBS2 spoke to the attorney representing the suspect in the case, confirming he has had problems with laws in the past. The alleged victim said because of that, he and other people like him should be banned from using sites like Match.com.
On Thursday, attorneys for the woman announced they were filing a civil lawsuit against the site. The woman, a Hollywood executive who wants to remain anonymous, said she was sexually assaulted by a man she met through the site, and she wants the site to stop adding users until a sexual predator screening process is installed.
“If somebody uses their credit card to pay, then they basically run their name through a federal sex offender data bank and through a local county registration bank,” said attorney Mark Webb.
The suspect in the case, Alan Wurtzel, is facing felony charges in LA Superior Court. Police said he is a previously convicted sex offender for assaults on women he met on the Internet.
Webb said the woman met the alleged assailant last year at the Urth Cafe in West Hollywood. After a second date, the attorney said the man, who has been convicted six separate times for sexual battery, followed her home and attacked her, KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens reports.
Robert Platt, the attorney for Match.com, said it would have been impossible to weed him out when he signed up and the company is standing by its practices.
“We don’t have their Social Security numbers. It would create so many problems by trying to get background information on all these people,” said Platt.
Annette Larner met her husband-to-be online and tells CBS2 that she did her own background check on him.
“We were chatting for a while. We were chatting for about five months,” she said.
Larner’s story has a happy ending, but she warns those who use online dating services.
“Definitely be critical, make sure everything he says is absolutely true. And try and ask the same questions again a few days later to see if you get the same answer,” she said.
Wurtzel’s attorney said the sexual contact was consensual and that he’s pleaded not guilty to two felony charges against him. His trial is set to start April 26.