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Rape victim wants Match.com offender-screening details

August 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The dating website Match.com has been ordered to show it has started screening out convicted sex offenders as members.

A woman sued Match.com after she was sexually assaulted by a convicted sex offender she met on the website.

This week he pleaded no contest to sexual battery.

Match.com says the company is now screening potential members to make sure they are not sexual offenders, but attorneys for a Los Angeles woman who was sexually assaulted after going out with a man she met on Match.com want more information. And now a judge also wants to know exactly how the dating website is screening for potential sexual offenders.

Carole Markin and her attorneys were back in court Friday to make sure Match.com is living up to its promise to screen potential members against a national sex-offender registry.

"We want them to do sex-offender checking so that no one who's a registered sex offender either at the federal, at the state or at the county level can be a subscriber," said Mark Webb, an attorney for Carole Markin.

Last year Markin was sexually assaulted by Alan Wurtzel, 67, who she met on Match.com.

It was later revealed Wurtzel had six previous sexual battery convictions. This week, Wurtzel pleaded no contest in the Markin case to felony sexual battery by force.

But Markin believes her assault was preventable if only the dating website had screened for sexual predators. She says she filed the civil claim against Match.com for the greater good.

"I'd never wanted any money," said Markin. "I just wanted other people not to have to go through what I went through."

Match.com claims the company is now screening for convicted sexual offenders, but is not saying how. Markin's attorneys want details.

"Now they say they are doing more than we asked them to do, in which case the whole case is over pretty much, and so we just want proof that they're doing it," said Webb.

Security experts say the National Sex Offender Registry only identifies those individuals who've been registered as sexual offenders, thereby missing other criminal offenses that may be on record.

"It does not include violent crimes such as domestic violence, battery, aggravated battery, murder. You can miss a whole host of these events that have occurred if you just rely on the sexual offender registry," said Andy Scott, The Background Guys, a background-check company.

Carole Markin says she has no regrets about going public with her story, and she's relieved changes are being made.

"I've been cautiously dating," said Markin. "I haven't done online dating since this. If I know they've got background checks then I'll go back online."

The judge has scheduled another hearing for Tuesday, where Match.com will have to produce details of its new screening procedure.

The attorneys representing Match.com in court Friday would not comment and Eyewitness News calls to Match.com headquarters have not been returned.

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