Published April 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES -- Singles website Match.com said Sunday that it will begin screening its users against the national sex offender registry after a woman filed a lawsuit against the company saying she had been assaulted by someone she met through the popular dating service.
Mandy Ginsberg, president of Match.com, told The Associated Press in a statement that the company had considered such screenings for years, but "their historical unreliability has always led us to conclude against it."
Ginsberg said after talking to providers and advisers the last few days, company officials decided to make a change.
"We've been advised that a combination of improved technology and an improved database now enables a sufficient degree of accuracy to move forward with this initiative, despite its continued imperfection."
Last week, a California woman filed a lawsuit against the website, saying she was sexually assaulted while on a second date at a West Hollywood cafDe by a man she met through Match.com. The suit said the attack could have been prevented with a proper background check and demanded that Match.com start screening for sexual predators.
The company's move to screen its users was already being considered and did not come in direct response to the lawsuit, but the timing of the decision was accelerated by the attention the suit brought, Match.com spokesman Matthew Traub said.
Ginsberg said the company's new policy was no substitute for subscribers remaining vigilant on dates.
"We want to stress that while these checks may help in certain instances, they remain highly flawed, and it is critical that this effort does not provide a false sense of security to our members."
The company offers several safety tips to its users, including always meeting for the first time in public, telling a friend or family member where the date will take place, and staying sober.
Match said it expected to be able to implement the policy in 60 to 90 days.