• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Match.com reaches settlement with rape victim

KABC-TV covers Los Angeles and Southern California.

August 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The dating website Match.com reached a court settlement Tuesday with a plaintiff who had been raped by a site user.

Carole Markin sued Match.com after being raped by a man she had two dates with through the website. The man, Alan Wurtzel, is a convicted sex offender.

Markin sued the Match.com alleging the site should have had background screening in place before allowing people to use the site.

As part of the settlement Carole Markin dismissed the lawsuit, which she did "with prejudice," and she gave up all rights to sue the company again for the incident.

Both parties will bear their own court costs and attorney fees. The settlement stipulates that it does not constitute admission of liability by Match.com.

As part of the settlement, Match.com attorney Robert Platt read a statement aloud to the court Tuesday:

"As Match.com previously announced it would do, it is checking subscribers against state and national sex offender registries. The screening process continues to be refined.

"Although Match.com has no legal obligation to do this, for several years it has periodically evaluated the practicality of conducting such checks. Match.com now believes that a combination of improved technology and improved databases enables a sufficient degree of accuracy to implement this measure.

"Match.com continues to stress that while these checks may help in certain instances, it is important that this effort does not provide a false sense of security to our members. With millions of members, and thousands of first dates a week, Match.com like any other large community, cannot guarantee and is not responsible for the actions of its members.

"Match.com is a fantastic service, having changed the lives of millions of people through the relationships and marriages it has given rise to, but people have to exercise common sense and prudence with people they have just met, whether through an online dating service or any other means."

"When you go on a site like that, you do think of it as safe. You know people lie about their weight or their age, but you don't think they're going to lie about whether or not they're a sex offender," said Markin at a news conference after court Tuesday.

"We believe there's going to be a domino effect to other online dating services, and that Match.com, being the largest, is now agreeing to set a new standard and raise the bar higher," said Mark Webb, Markin's attorney.

Markin said she was pleased with the settlement, and that she sued the company for the greater good, and was not seeking money.

Markin said she wanted the incident to be an example for other online dating sites, and that the crime against her was preventable.

Load Comments