Woman Sues Match.com After Alleged Sex Assault By Man She Met Online

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.

  • Joe

    Why didn’t she use better judgement when she “screened” him herself?
    Just asking……..

    • jimjim

      Use your head people. Its the INTERNET!!

      • OBAMA = FRAUD

        I’d like to report an ASSAULT taking place on the U.S. Constitution.

        A USURPER is our President He has a CONNECTICUT S.S. Number (042-68-4425) even though he never lived there. MUST READ – http://www.cashill.com/intellect_fraud/another_look_at_obamas.htm

      • Anthony Madrid

        This has absolutely nothing to do with the internet, fact your probably safer there than anywhere else. Truth is there are more abduction and kidnapping statistics from people met in person than there are from people met online. We just don’t want to see it that way cause its too scary and it doesn’t give us something to blame.

    • Fanny Forbes Franklen

      Does this mean if you meet your rapist at your church that you can sue the church? Sounds like a whole new avenue for under employed lawyers and bureaucrats.

      ——– http://911essentials.com

  • Scott

    Was this person a registered sex offender? If now, how can match.com be liable?

  • tom held

    That is so wrong , She went to meet them HELLO OUT THERE it is the internet = what do you expect ! Some people have no sense or are nieve.

  • You Cant Sue

    You cannot sue a dating website for interaction that happens off the site. I run a dating website and its clearly in the Terms of Use Agreement which every member has to acknowledge prior to completing their profile.

    The terms of use clearly states that match.com is NOT responsible for interaction between members both on or off their site.

    • jaided

      wow we can sue for just about anything. i ordered some frys at mcdonalds and they were cold. i wanna sue can i?

      • imintrouble

        you can sue, doesn’t mean u will win….

      • JDUDE



    • commhealy

      Unfortunately, in our system of justice, a judge and jury decides who can and cannot sue. Anyone can write a disclaimer about anything. It does not make it law nor does it help much even if it is law. Law can be changed or ignored by a jury on a whim.

      • LarryTheLawyer

        And then they are overturned on motion notwithstanding the verdict (that is, if under the law, the jury could not have made the choice they did based on the evidence before them). Juries are the last say in criminal trials, not civil.

    • She has a case

      Clearly, you are not a lawyer. Terms and agreements on websites are considered adhesion contracts due to the “click or you can’t use our service” nature that excludes the ability to negotiate the terms, and thus are viewed very suspiciously by courts. The waiver of liability clause will likely be found unconscionable, or be read to not include foreseeable harm, or be found invalid on public policy grounds. Furthermore, she did not just meet this guy on the internet, he was “matched” to her by a dating service. This creates a contractual duty in the service to her exercise reasonable care in the provision of its service so as to not unreasonably place her in harm. Things they will look at will include whether this has happened before, what their screening practices include, the cost of doing more in depth screening (i.e. a simple and inexpensive criminal background check would have revealed the past charges), and whether the woman had any notice of his status as well (this is because if she did, there may be comparative fault, which would significantly reduce any amount she could recover). While it’s not a sure fire win, she undoubtedly does have grounds for a lawsuit against the company in negligence.

      • jimbo

        and you are the face of the problem. In this particular case, where a jury of reasonable people or a judge should say ‘lady, you are meeting a stranger, life is risky, take precautions.” SHE should do the inexpensive background screening. She isn’t intelligent enough to use a high level dating system… she should stick to meeting men at PTA meetings, or church. An invasive background screen is what is now required for match.com to do business? this is LOVE and SEX we are talking about lol. I certainly hope she has to give plasma for the rest of her life to repay any litigation charges for this nuisance suit.

      • David

        The entire content of your text is absurd- a hard up woman goes on a cheap dating site and you expect the Marines to protect her bad judgement.

        Why are lawyers hated? Read your text

      • pashley1411

        I agree with the others who are in horror at what lawyers do to our society. But the guy is correct, that’s the law as I understand it. “Grounds for a lawsuite” means commission-hungry lawyers pounding the web-site owners with depositions and request for discovery on all their clients until the websites cry “uncle’ and pay the lawyers off.

        My bet is that internet sites will go up $40 or more a month while internet dating sites are sadled with criminal background checks, the clerks to work them, and liability insurance for everything that could happen wrong on the date.

        Its neither a fair, or sane, world.

      • Isabella

        Your legalese bs does not negate the fact that she should have used resonable caution and done her own background check on the guy. I did that when I was on dating sites and you would not believe the stuff I found about some of these guys.
        So now can people sue if the other person is married? Is into S and M? Didn’t tell you he has kids? Where does it stop? If he was a convicted sex offender, all she had to do was look him up on the national database: http://www.nsopw.gov/(X(1)S(0k3ekkewrb0dsw45gdl3m22f))/Core/Conditions.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

      • Isabella

        And furthermore….you don’t meet a guy online and take him to your place or go to his or anywhere something could happen until you have known him long enough to get information to check him out.
        She’s a studio exec and hasn’t the brains or the resources to do this?
        So would you meet a guy in a bar, go home with him, cry rape and sue the bar?
        Stupid woman, stupid sue happy society.

      • Robb

        How was she “matched” by the dating service? On the times I was on Match.com, I had to tell their computer what characteristics I was seeking. Thus, I was responsible for what profiles I looked at and which profiles I responded to. Match.com was no more responsible for her assault than a bar, church, school, bus station, or any other place two people meet each other. And yes, that includes a law firm or attorney’s office.

      • dydx

        Arrogant. No morals or scruples, either, evidently. Also sorely lacking in common sense and always looking for a way to game the system. Looking to blame others and not the client. 5% culpability, 100% liability mentality.

        Clearly…you ARE a lawyer!

    • Santa Cruz

      she’ll loose. for sure.. she should sue that prick not dating site..

      • A woman on searching for love

        It’s so hard to judge sometimes….I always do my own little homework before meeting the guy, but they don’t tell their real name sometimes…..what if they used a faked name….
        Once I was chatting with this guy on the online dating site, then I got suspicious, he used his full name on the yahoo chat and asked me to join him on the chat on yahoo….once I saw his full name, and googled him, I figured out he was there to steal money from women and sadly some women went with his BS…..
        What he was saying was so obvious that he’s a real fraud, I’m not sure why others can’t figure out these types of people…..I reported him to the site and I find him in another site and reported him there too….hmmm…..I can work for police department….hehehe….
        however, I think the online dating sites can write a simple program to read from the national sex offender site (database) or whatever and exclude the person from their site….that’s really a simple job for them to do to make an extra protection level for their customers…..

    • Frank Anthony

      Just because you say you are not responsible for something doesn’t make it so.

      If that were the case everything you buy would come with a piece of paper stating that the manufacturer is not responsible for injury from this product and consumers would never win a lawsuit.

      If match.com ultimately wins the case, It won’t be because they absolved themselves of responsibility in their terms of use. It will probably be more along the lines of… a reasonable person should not expect members of a dating site to be pre-screened unless explicitly told that they are by the website.

    • Go to law school

      I hope you aren’t the attorney for your site also. Take a first year law class on contracts. Terms of use agreements absolutely do NOT bar lawsuits. NOTHING is that black and white. Waiver clauses like the one you’re referring to are usually only valid if they waive negligence claims, and even then they usually still don’t apply if the negligence is inherent in the defendant’s mode of operation. A court will decide whether or not the agreement is valid, and it could very easily find that it is unreasonable for match.com to allow people to set up these blind dates without screening the participants or taking some other sort of precaution. Don’t try to state the law; you obviously don’t know anything about it.

      • Tolly

        Neither do you. This is a tort case, not a breach of contract case. She will need to prove that the website had a duty to pre-screen the participants. If the terms of service explicitly state that this is not offered as part of the membership, and they further caution all participants of the website that a risk of harm may be present, then no duty exists.

        Liability waivers and disclaimers are legally binding. The language contained within them is part of the agreement between the parties and can not be discarded or amended by either party. Only those protections extended to the user as part of the agreement are binding. If there is a foreseeable risk which one can prove was such that a reasonable person could ascertain and mitigate, this would be a valid cause of action. This situation does not meet that standard unless and until the women can prove that she was guaranteed protection from that risk as a part of the agreement.

  • gto

    This lady is an idiot.

    • jddue

      it was more than likely the lawyers idea, not the ladies…

  • RJ

    That’s ludicrous. The site can’t EFFECTIVELY screen for sexual predators, I suppose if she picked the same man up at a bar, and the same thing happened, she sue the bar. It’s a dating site, so there are going to be inherent risks. But not in California. Everybody is “sue happy…”

    • Eduardo Garcia

      So if they did screen for predators, what if they gave a false name and ss number and a stolen credit card? There would still be some greedy dumba** suing them for not screening enough.

  • Dr, Phil

    Obviously poor judgement on her part since she met him for a second time. It’s sad that she was followed and assaulted but maybe she needs to screen her dates better. There is no way she can with this law suit. Only thing she can do is to file charges against her attacker if she hasn’t done so already.

  • hubba

    I’m sure match has a disclaimer when you sign up that states you searching and moving forward at your own risk. What a dumb ass lawyer and lady.

  • Duh!

    Why sue Match.com???
    She should be suing the man that attacked her. She obviously knows who he is and has contact information for him.

    It’s not Match.com’s fault she cannot exercise good judgment.

    • TruthMeister

      In America, you ALWAYS sue the one with the deepest pockets. Your kid misbehaving in Walmart and slips and pokes another kid’s eye out? Yeah, you sue Walmart. Sure, you also sue the other party as a co-defender, but you ALWAYS include someone with deep pockets, even if their relationship to the incident is tenuous at best.

  • Greg Wilsen

    A signed disclaimer only encourages predatory attorneys because they know judges don ‘t respect the law. Think of all the overturned prenuptual agreements.

    • Read a law book, for god's sake!

      That’s because of a LEGAL doctrine where courts can declare certain patently unfair and one-sided clauses as unconscionable. While a fairly new doctrine, it is well grounded in the common law. Also, there are strong public policy arguments that support the use of this doctrine, especially with adhesion contracts like internet “terms and agreements.” It has nothing to do with predatory attorneys, and has even less to do with judges that don’t respect the law.

  • Ernest

    Lady Sue the Person Not the Site This is a dating Site if y’all made a Mistake is a Mistake When you Lose Don’t lose the Lesson don’t make the same mistake lady sue the guy but not the site.Thank y’all

  • Barbara Elie

    Here we go again. It is the mans fault for the sexual assault, not Match and especially not the woman. I hope she brought charges against him, and that she will drop the suit against Match.com

  • Jeff Nalin

    On her SECOND date, give it rest Webb


    most people who sign up for internet dating, dont usually give there real name. Why you ask???? Hellooooooo!!! Most are already married, or sexual predators! mainly man who are tired of the same sex. So if your looking on the internet for a man or a women, well anyone then is taking the risk of this happening to them. Nothing on the internet is scared, or information is not truley out there. Its your responsibility to check the site out befor you sign up.
    Not I am not saying this lady deserved this…For gods sake she did nothing wrong to deserve what happened to her, and the man should pay it fullest!!! price!!!! Im just saying when you search the internet for a date….You must likely will get the date that no one wanted in the first place….be carefull what you wish for…I know she did not wish for this to happen…and I feel very sad this happened to such a nice person

    • fun fellow

      I disagree profoundly with you. Ten years ago today I met my wife on Match.com. I had been using the site for about two years. I agree that most first meetings were disappointing. I always insisted on meeting in public with a lot of people around.

      What alternative do you propose? Can you guarantee that this wouldn’t have happened if she had met this guy at a bar? at a charity auction? at a church social? No! of course not. She went out with him a second time, so he couldn’t have been that creepy. After meeting him in person the first time she was in a position to know more about him than any dating site possibly could.

      Match.com can’t settle this lawsuit or lose otherwiise they would be out of business, along with every other internet dating site, an entire industry wiped out for no good reason.

      I for one am absolutely sick of the victimhood mentality in this country where everything that happens is somebody else’s fault and personal responsiibility is nonexistent. For all we know this could be a setup. She could have staged the thing to get a big pay day. In any case it’s not match.com’s fault and this case is totally without merit.

  • Jeanine

    No dating website should allow rapists to be in their dating pool. People join in good faith, that the people who are writing them and that they are meeting are not violent predators. I believe there should be some way to shield people from that level of harm, internet dating is basically new, in the big scheme of things. The rules and protocol still needs to be worked out. This is a valid lawsuit.

    • Will

      Valid lawsuit? How can match.com and other dating website be 100% sure that no rapists signs up? What about those that haven’t got caught? People should know the risk when they submit to these sites. I’m sure a lot of people out there join in good faith. But they should also know the risk without anybody telling them. Is call common sense…….

    • krg

      Internet dating is 20 years old and the rules have been spelled out for years. The article says he followed her home. How is Match (or any site) responsible for that? I have dated online and I am VERY careful when I meet someone. For starters even on a second date I wouldn’t leave and go straight home for this reason. One of my best friends is a guy I met on match four years ago.

      Californians want to sue someone every time they stub a toe. It’s ridiculous. While I”m sorry that she was assaulted it’s noones responsiiblity except the guy who did it Of course she’ll get a jury from California who love to hand out money and she’ll get some sort of settlement just because there is NO self responsibility in this state..


    She is a Gold Digger. How can Match.com screen ALL of it’s applicants?

    Just goes to prove that you can sue anyone for almost anything..

  • dave

    Its not match’s fault, but you have to admit its not a bad idea to screen out sexual offenders. Hey thats a good idea for a new dating site:


    Next thing we’ll see lawsuits flying all over the place claiming the men on Match.com aren’t really what they said to be..

    They’re not really 6’2″, own their own place, drives ferrari & porsche, live by the Beach, have many businesses & vacation homes, etc..

  • plentyoffish.com

    What a waste of time and money. She obviously is just looking to get paid from a website that she took the risk of joining. Match.com just like many other dating sites have disclaimers and warnings. It was her poor judgement that lead to the attack. Not her fault but she’s got no chance in this case.

  • suzy

    I want to know if she’ll go on the THIRD date????? !!!!!!!!

  • jaided

    i met a girl on match.com who said she was 110 lbs and she ended up being 210lbs? i 2 wanna sue.

  • Online Dater

    Here’s a good one and a true story too. I met someone online who turned out to be a totally different person when we met. She was using her sisters pic on her profile. I should sue too!!!

    • LearnTheLaw

      Well, you’d have to prove that you were harmed in some way, and if you weren’t (which you weren’t) the lawyer in taking your case, and you, could be slapped with sanctions under FRCP. You know it’s a frivolous case, you weren’t harmed in any tangible way (shock/disappointment/etc is not enough). Then, you’d also end up paying attorney’s fees for the other side.

      I hope you have deep pockets, because your lawsuit would go nowhere, and you would only go deeply into debt.

      • EduardoGarcia

        What about all the people who sue for “emotional distress?”
        Face it, you can sue for just about anything if you find a greedy lawyer.

  • alan hart

    This is a great example of why we need tort reform in this country. This foolishness should never come before the courts. Make it a loser pays system and frivolous suits like this immediately go away.

  • http://catholic-bulletin.blogspot.com/

    Same old story, the winner is the attorney again. bravo.

  • Nameless Person

    You could see this lawsuit coming from a mile away when CBS2/KCAL first reported this.

    I would love to be the juror in this case. Match.com would be found not liable for her stupidity. I would also make her pay all the attorney’s fees if they requested it.

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