April 18, 2011 / 7:35 PM / 7 years ago

Match.com to screen dating site for sex offenders

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Match.com said it will begin checking users against the national sex offender registry, days after a class action lawsuit was filed by a woman allegedly sexually assaulted by a man she met on the dating site.

The decision came after years of considering the move but deciding against it because of the unreliability of the screening method, Match.com President Mandy Ginsberg said in a statement released late Sunday.

“Improved technology and an improved database now enables a sufficient degree of accuracy to move forward with this initiative, despite its continued imperfection,” she said.

Match.com, based in Dallas and owned by New York-based media holding company IAC/Interactivecorp, said it expects to implement the screening in 60 to 90 days.

The announcement came after a Hollywood executive, identified only as Jane Doe, called for the site to change its policies in a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In the suit, the woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by another Match.com member, Alan Paul Wurtzel, who had been convicted six times for sexual battery, according to a statement issued by her attorney, Mark Webb.

According to the class action lawsuit, the woman met Wurtzel through Match.com in 2010, and the two set up a meeting, after which he raped her. Related felony charges are pending, according to court documents.

Among other things, the civil suit seeks an injunction prohibiting Match.com from signing up further members until the screening of members is implemented.

Webb did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking further comment.

Match.com spokesman Matthew Traub said the company had already been considering a plan to screen users against the sex offender registry when the lawsuit was filed, though the attention brought by the suit expedited the decision.

Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Jackie Frank

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