THE dating website match.com has been forced to begin checking its clients against criminal databases after being sued by a Californian woman who claimed to have been raped by a convicted sex attacker she met on the site, writes Guy Adams.
The management of match.com, whose almost two million members in the United States pay about $30 (€21) a month for access to its database of potential life partners, announced the move in an attempt to limit the public-relations damage after the woman said that her attacker, Alan Wurtzel, had "six previous sexual convictions for sexual battery" in Los Angeles, according to a class action lawsuit filed last week. He was able to use the site to arrange meetings with further unwitting victims.
Around one-in-five Americans now meets a spouse through online matchmaking sites.
Companies such as match.com and the market leader, eharmony.com, claim they are not responsible for the veracity of statements made by their members, or even for checking that customers will look anything like the tall, dark, handsome alpha males in their online profile pictures.
Users of match.com are "solely responsible" for subsequent interactions with people they meet there, according to the small print.
But it is not clear whether that sort of disclaimer will be enough to protect dating companies in court. (© Independent News Service)