The Safer Online Dating Alliance applauds today's announcement that a convicted sexual predator was removed from a top online dating site and banned from all dating and relationship sites. This landmark settlement sends a powerful message that member safety should be the primary concern for online dating companies and sets an example for other online dating companies to follow.
"It is encouraging that online dating companies are beginning to make safety a top priority," said Celeste Moyers, program director for the Safer Online Dating Alliance. "If just one sexual assault is prevented through safer online dating practices, it is well worth the effort."
In November 2005, according to court records, a convicted sex offender from California accessed several online dating sites, including TRUE.com, and violated TRUE's membership criteria by denying his criminal record. The court documents contend a female TRUE.com member familiar with the sex offender's record alerted TRUE and other online dating companies. Press reports state TRUE.com investigated the claim, removed the sexual predator's profile from its site, alerted their members who had been in contact with him, and filed a civil lawsuit against him. Other online dating sites, aware of his presence, did not take the same immediate action.
Online dating companies should place member safety first and foremost. The convenience and anonymity of the Internet makes dating wonderfully convenient for many people, but it also gives predators access to thousands of online dating profiles for malicious purposes. By preventing this convicted sexual predator from accessing online dating sites, TRUE.com has made the online dating world a little safer.
A SODA coalition member, TRUE.com is considering donating all funds from the settlement to further SODA's legislative and education initiatives. These initiatives include supporting legislation to help prevent sexual and financial crimes in online dating, raising public awareness of safer online dating practices and encouraging online dating companies to implement proactive measures to support the safety of their members.
The Safer Online Dating Alliance is a broad-based network of supporters from across the nation committed to improving online safety and preventing cyber crime and sexual assault. For more information, visit our website at http://www.saferonlinedating.org/