A Del Mar man, Sean Patrick Banks, was arrested on Monday and jailed on suspicion of two sex-related charges. He allegedly raped a woman he met on Christian Mingle using the names Rarity, Rylan Butterwood and Rylan Harbough. The man is said to have visited her La Mesa home where the assault took place. The La Mesa Police Department is concerned there may be other cases involving other women, said Lt. Matt Nicholass.
Banks, 37, pleaded not guilty to the allegations, posted $500,000 bail and was released from custody on his own recognizance. If convicted he could face 36 years to life in prison if convicted of the charges. The woman, in her 20s, did not know Banks’ real name, so it took the authorities several months to identify him and track him down.
The United States generated $700 million in revenue, in 2008, from social networking and Internet dating services. The U.S. online dating market is a bustling industry that increased its revenue to $932 million in 2011. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, online daters are generally younger and more likely to be employed than non-online daters.
In some instances, the first date can end in violence. This requires vigilance on the part of users, particularly women who may become the victims of crime. The Safer Online Dating Alliance (SODA) warns women never to post photos of their children, nor to describe them in detail, saying that single mothers who openly say they seek partners who like children have inadvertently attracted pedophiles.
According to SODA, “Do not allow the person to pick you up from your home or office. Drive your own vehicle, take public transportation or have a friend or family member drop you off at the meeting place. When dropped off, ask the person to come in for a minute and meet your Internet date. Make sure family or friends know your itinerary, and that you met your date online. Do not feel you are being intrusive. In fact, SODA suggests, “Upon arrival, verify your date’s name and description using his or her driver’s license.”