Online Match-making/dating website Match.com said on Sunday that it will start screening its users against the national sex offender registry.
Mandy Ginsberg, president of the popular singles site, told The Associated Press in an email that the company had considered such screenings for years, but “their historical unreliability has always led us to conclude against it.”
Ginsberg said after talking to providers and advisers the last few days, company officials decided to make a change.
“We’ve 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.”
“We want to stress that 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.”
The announcement seems to be a result of lawsuit against the website filed by a California woman, in which she claims that she was sexually assaulted by a man who she met on Match.com, while on a second date at a West Hollywood café. The suit claims that the attack could be avoided by a proper background check and demanded that Match.com start screening its users for sex offenders.
In an interview with KABC-TV Channel 7, the woman said her relationship with the man started innocently enough: “He sent me an email and said he was into golf and tennis and he had a house in the Palisades over Malibu and he liked art and culture, travel and food.”
Webb described his client as an Ivy League graduate who works in film and television. He said she met her alleged assailant last year at Urth Cafe in West Hollywood. He seemed charming and she agreed to see him again, he said.
But after the second date, the woman said, the alleged assault occurred: “He went straight into the bathroom when he came in my place and I sat down on the couch and waited for him,” she told the TV station. “Then he came out of the bathroom and jumped me and forced me to have oral sex and then he left.”
This horrific ordeal completely blindsided me because I had considered myself savvy about online dating safety,” the woman said in a statement released through her attorney last week. “Things quickly turned into a nightmare, beyond my control.”
After the man left, the woman went online and learned that he had been convicted of several counts of sexual battery. Charges are pending in the Match.com case, Webb said.
The company claims that lawsuit didn’t have a direct bearance to the change as they have been working on the idea. The change is supposed to be in effect in the next 60-90 days.
What next? Mental and physical checks, credit score check, criminal check and maybe somewhere down the road – gene check? Can the site be accountable to the kind of people you get attracted to?