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Monday 15 July 2019

Tinder 'truly shocked' that rapist Nevin used app to find victims

Patrick Nevin
Patrick Nevin

Robin Schiller and Hugh O'Connell

Tinder has said it is "truly shocked and saddened" after a serial rapist used the online dating app to target women in a spate of sexual assaults.

Patrick Nevin (37) became known as the 'Tinder Rapist' after using the popular app to meet unsuspecting women before carrying out three sex attacks over 11 days.

On Monday he was jailed for 12 years after pleading guilty to the rape of a woman in Co Meath in July 2014.

Nevin was previously given a five-and-a-half-year sentence for the sexual assault of a Brazilian woman, whom he had also met on Tinder, in July 2014.

In the aftermath of Nevin's sentencing, Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone called for sex offenders to be banned for life from dating apps.

Meanwhile, Tinder has said it will co-operate with any Garda investigations.

A spokesperson for the social media giant said that it has spent "millions" on a series of review tools to remove "bad actors" from the app. They include automatic scans of profiles for red-flag language and images, as well as user-generated reports.

"We are truly shocked and saddened by these events. At Tinder, we take the safety of our users seriously and we strongly encourage any user who believes they have been a victim of a crime to report it to law enforcement. We will fully co-operate with any investigation," a Tinder spokesperson said when contacted about the Nevin case.

"We encourage users to report any instances of misconduct via the self-reporting tool featured on all Tinder profiles.

"In the event that we receive such a report, our dedicated community team takes appropriate measures, which may include removing the profile or banning the user," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Josepha Madigan refused to say if it was appropriate for a member of Cabinet to comment on the length of Nevin's sentence. On Monday evening she tweeted "12 years is not near enough".

Asked about that comment at an event yesterday, Ms Madigan said: "Well, I think the crimes are abhorrent and a woman's worst nightmare. But I think the sentencing guidelines are up to the judiciary and as you know there's a clear delineation between the Oireachtas and the executive of the judiciary."

When asked if dating app companies should introduce safeguards to prevent sex offenders from using them, a spokesperson for the Department of Communications said: "The conditions of release and parole of sex offenders is a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality."

Irish Independent

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