COMMENTARY | Single women received scary news upon hearing that a Match.com female member was sexually assaulted by a fellow Match.com member. After all one in five relationships now begin online as their heavily promoted commercials tell us. To add insult to literal injury, it turned out that the alleged attacker was a known sexual predator. Mark Webb, the victim's lawyer, revealed that the Alan Paul Wurtzel had been convicted six times for sexual battery.
The Jane Doe, an entertainment industry executive, connected with Wurtzel on Match and arranged an in-person date. After the first date the pair hit it off and arranged a second date where the victim invited Wurtzel back to her home. After they had dinner she alleges that Wurtzel sexually attacked her. Luckily for us, Jane Doe called the police and her attorney.
Jane Doe's lawsuit against Match asked the court to force Match.com to install a screening program that scans the backgrounds of new members for sex offender status. She even asked that a temporary restraining order block new members from signing up to Match until such a safety system be enacted. The initial reaction of the dating service was that it was impossible to monitor the prospective past criminal lives of every member.
After an uproar from their membership and a potential threat to their purse strings, Match changed its tune and will screen members against the sex assault database. Well done, Jane Doe. Now that Match has agreed to these terms it can't be long before other sites follow suit. Of course this new system assumes that each member is using their legal name.
The victim is to be applauded for taking positive steps that affect the future of all online daters. The Ivy League graduate appeared on ABC News speaking out about her ordeal with her face obscured. By having the courage to come forward and bring this issue to our attention she has not only forced Match.com and its sister site Chemistry.com to change the way that it does business but she has put all daters on alert.
According to a previous Match.com statement, "While incidents like this one between individuals who meet on Match.com are extremely rare, it doesn't make them any less horrifying." To say the least. Jane Doe did not sue for any money. Her objective was something far greater. There are separate criminal rape charges pending in the Los Angeles court system.